Ani DiFranco has never (as far as I know) deigned to grant her bandmates a collective noun. There is no Ani & the Ants, or DiFranco & the Dynamos.
This wasn’t too much of an issue on her first eight albums, but the time we get to this first of two releases from 1999 (she IS prolific), you start to get the feeling the folks in the background are getting stiffed.
No longer are we listening to a solo artist belting out tunes on an acoustic guitar with a little help from her friends. Instead, we have an album with extended jams between bass and drums, with horn bursts and a genuine band feel.
Given her claimed righteousness, perhaps this could be recognised via nomenclature.
The album itself represents a considerable departure, or perhaps extension, of previous moves. The song-writing has got even more hit and miss.
She nails a couple of rippers – the acerbic State of the Nation harangue ‘Tis of Thee and, most successfully, the divorced parent counselling session Angry Any More.
The latter track is worth chasing up, the two big jamfests less so, as she (and her Aardvarks) lack the magnetism of a Parliament/Funkadelic 12 minuter.
File under: Beware the sun Icarus