Picks and Pans Review: Salt Peter

updated 02/12/1996 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/12/1996 01:00AM

ruby

Siren Lesley Rankine shares the secret to her spooky self-possession on the third cut of this debut album: "I can speak so softly because I hold so much power," she coos over the quiet rumbling of "Heidi." Rankine has come far from the thrashy punk of her former band Silverfish. She's still powerful—her vocals are as vivid as her new group's namesake hue—but she no longer shouts to prove it. Taking cues from alternative rock's tortured queens of doom (Sinéad O'Connor and Portishead's sad vocalist, Beth Gibbons), Rankine tempers sweeping passion with a newfound restraint. Meanwhile her bandmates create a thrilling juxtaposition by backing her blue mood with industrial-strength trip-hop arrangements that clink and clatter as if forged in a steel mill. Their heavy-metalisms plateau on "Paraffin," the album's first single. Firing it up with Gothic abandon, they render the tune not just flammable but explosive. (Creation/Work)

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