Lizzie West & the White Buffalo
I Pledge Allegiance to Myself
First Appeared in The Music Box, April 2006, Volume 13, #4
Written by John Metzger
Lizzie West’s flirtation with a major label contract thankfully was brief, and fans of her earthy concert performances undoubtedly will be pleased with the homespun direction she has taken on her sophomore outing I Pledge Allegiance to Myself. Much as its title suggests, the album is more befitting of West’s persona, and the spit-and-polish that clung to (and subsequently suffocated) the reformulated Holy Road: Freedom Songs has been replaced with an easy-going, organically-derived ambience. Although there are moments on the endeavor when she stumbles — the title track is overly pretentious, and God Damn that Man feels forced to fit into a pulsating, hip-hop rhythm — a majority of the outing finds her blending personal reflections upon life and love with political commentary while settling comfortably into an affecting, folk-pop vein. Playfully purring the vocals to the seductive Rope Me In and Smoke Me, for example, West bends the influence of both Carole King and Natalie Merchant around a radiantly effervescent groove. Elsewhere, she draws from Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, and the Indigo Girls in order to formulate the disarmingly charming protestations of 19 Miles to Baghdad, and she deftly unearths the murky blues motif that lies at the core of Bob Marley’s Get Up, Stand Up. Fueled by her self-determination, I Pledge Allegiance to Myself fulfills the promise that was buried deep beneath the glossy sheen of her less than stellar debut.
I Pledge Allegiance to Myself is available from Barnes & Noble.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2006 The Music Box