Lovers Lane
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Good girls

| October 6, 2011

Image is everything. Dowdily dressed women can be the most sexual creatures alive, while vacantly expressioned art waifs don’t necessarily lie with any man or thing just because “life is empty.” Where do Lisa Hannigan and Anika fit in?

Up until the point where Lisa Hannigan and Ray LaMontagne begin having sex on Passenger (ATO), her sophomore album’s emotional resonance stems from the unlikely PJ Harvey-ness of “Knots.” The shabby-chic singer/songwriter came to prominence as Damien Rice’s innocent duet partner of choice, and is generally expected to hew tightly to emotionally taut folk pop that doubles as diary entries. But “Knots” presents another angle. The LaMontagne collaboration, “O Sleep,” offers another, and it ought to make her parents blush — before they ground her for a year. The pillow conversation is a natural extension of Andrew Belle’s stay-the-night “Static Waves” — lying so close that while you can’t smell their breath, they must almost certainly detect yours. As a gifted duetter, Hannigan’s capability for seeing a full album through and keeping her personality intact is refreshing. Though Joe Henry produced the effort, you can smell very little of his smoke-lounge atmospheres. (Monday@Double Door with John Smith.)

Dressed in a monochrome, formless black, and wearing a blank visage that recalls Nico, Anika (Annika Henderson backed by Portishead‘s Geoff Barrow, among others) is sure to get pressfolks frothy. Her self-titled, Stones Throw debut rides a post-punk dub wave, but with a detachment that pictures of her indicate. Bob Dylan’s graver-than-grave “Masters Of War” gets an ominous makeover that grows ever distant without losing a groove that makes you move. In concert footage, she’s generally backlit so you see a puff of her golden hair and no face, and she performs so dryly it’s a bit disconcerting. (Monday@Empty Bottle with Slowdance; she DJs an afterparty at Beauty Bar.)

— Steve Forstneger

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Category: Stage Buzz, Weekly

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