Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, Fri., June 11, 2004
Terri HendrixThe Art of Removing Wallpaper (Wilory)
One thing you have to respect Terri Hendrix for is her work ethic. There are very few independent Texas artists who've labored to the point where they can boast a mailing list 50,000 strong. That said, there's still something missing in her work to separate Hendrix from the plethora of other female singer-songwriters. The Art of Removing Wallpaper, her fifth studio album, follows up the wildly successful The Ring, and while it's a conscious effort for something different, she only partially succeeds. Two gospel-inflected tunes, "Monopoly," a caustic jab at radio giant Clear Channel, and "Judgment Day," a slyly written screed about those who use religion for their own cause, are sociopolitical commentaries offering a rarely seen side of Hendrix. All too often, however, she chooses topics that have been done to death, offering no new insight into the human condition. She also couches most of her material in twangy atmospherics that, while strikingly performed thanks to the talents of musical sidekick Lloyd Maines, are indistinguishable from anything found on a Sara Hickman or Shawn Colvin CD. Especially egregious is a cover of LL Cool J's "I Need Love," the arrangement of which Hendrix admits to lifting from Luka Bloom. Where Bloom steams with the longing and lust the song deserves, Hendrix's version is an inappropriate combination of pixie dust and fairy tales. With a title like The Art of Removing Wallpaper, the album promises a sense of humor, but that's what's missing here, and a little levity might just be the spark Terri Hendrix needs.