CD REVIEW: Tori Amos

American Doll Posse Epic
Music •••• Sound ••••
Never mind that this is the latest in a string of Tori Amos concept albums with barely fathomable concepts, or that the five characters who allegedly sing these songs all sound just like Tori. The real news is that this is her first album with a majority of up­tempo songs, with as much lead guitar as piano, and with some real grit. In other words, it's her rock album. The first half is full of great hooks and melodic invention, the slide guitars making a perfect match for the raspier edge that has lately snuck into Amos's voice (and for the most quotable line: "I'm an MILF, don't you forget"). The more characteristic second half has its moments as well, though its ballads aren't quite as gorgeous as those on Scarlet's Walk. Production throughout is refreshingly natural, each vocal sounding like a live, non-Pro Tooled performance, which is no small feat on a high-profile release nowadays.

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