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Abra Moore

Everything Changed (Koch)

Reviewed by Raoul Hernandez, Fri., March 19, 2004

SXSW Records

Abra Moore

Everything Changed (Koch) Clive Davis was right. The music industry mogul who signed Austin's Abra Moore to J Records then tried to Avril Lavigne her knows major label caliber talent when he hears it. And seven years after Strangest Places, which came out on (surprise!) Davis' Arista Records, Moore has delivered the goods. Of course Everything Changed is for the Koch label, but given its evocation of Tori Amos' Scarlet's Walk, it could've been for Epic. Everything Changed quilts together three very different sounding recording sessions, yet somehow achieves a natural story arc thematic albums like Scarlet's Walk work harder at. Neither liner notes nor a bonus DVD cop to any concept. The strongest tracks are producer Jay Joyce's, and they open the album with a booming, triple A flourish: "I Do," "No Fear," and "Big Sky." Saddle Creek co-founder/producer Mike Mogis lends a bit of indie ambience, followed by Moore's longtime Austin collaborator, guitarist Mitch Watkins. Piano confessional "Pull Away," and the ruminative latter half of Everything Changed are given weight by Watkins' reliance on Moore's voice rather than sonic effects. Between the two extremes might be found the story of a relationship. "I Do" and "No Fear" are songs of hope, followed by love ("Big Sky"). It's over by "Taking Chances," which is followed by a trio of push/pullers: "Melancholy Love," "Family Affair," and "Pull Away." "The End" comes immediately after. Grieving ("I Win"), acceptance ("Paint on Your Wings"), and change (the title track) all make appearances before the obligatory happy ending to an accomplished album whose emotional complexity resists it. Advances of Everything Changed included a not-so-hidden (breathy) cover of 10cc's "I'm Not in Love," perhaps the real pot of gold at the end of Abra Moore's rainbow. (Friday, March 19, 10pm @ Tambaleo)

***.5

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