Picks and Pans Review: Ghost of a Dog

updated 11/26/1990 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/26/1990 AT 01:00 AM EST

Edie Brickell & New Bohemians

Like a feather with a very sharp point, Brickell's piquantly wispy voice alternately teases and slings, which allows her and her group of reticent rockers to make a lot of different points in different ways.

While once in a while she lapses into what is at best the sweet side of a drone, Brickell seems more assertive than on her band's 1989 debut. And the band itself makes its presence felt, thanks to a heavy-on-the-rhythm-section mix by producer Tony Berg, which gives drummer Matt Chamberlain and bassist Brad Houser a chance to accent Brickell's vocals.

It's tempting to think of Brickell as Enigmatic Edie the way Henry Aaron used to be Hammering Hank; the causes of both alliteration and accuracy are served. Brickell writes such tunes as the title track ("How can that dog be scratchin' at the back door?/ We ran over him years ago") and "Oak Cliff Bra" ("Sittin' on the front porch/ in Oak Cliff'/ with my bra/ watchin' some cars go by") that beg all kinds of questions. But she can also charge ahead with a loose-gaited, all-too-clear rock lament such as "Mama Help Me."

She's still closer to Rickie Lee Jones than she is to Joan Jett, but the gap is narrowing. Anyway, wherever she is, on whatever continuum, let's find Brickell and send her congratulations. (Geffen)

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