Picks and Pans Review: The May Street Project

updated 06/25/2001 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/25/2001 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Shea Seger (RCA)

Somewhere between Jewel's weeping and Fiona Apple's wailing lies the folky funk of 21-year-old Shea Seger, whose refreshing debut melds synthesized Carnaby Street dramatics with the back-roads twang of acoustic guitars. It's no surprise to learn that Seger, a former acting student, is a Texas native who currently hangs her Stetson in England, where this album was a hit last year.

Seger proves a potent vocalist on "Last Time," a withering proclamation of waning desire, and the hard-driving "Clutch," in which her smoldering singing is tinged with sweet longing. The title track, which was improvised in the studio, is a deeply emotional confession; another standout is the achingly innocent love song "Wasting the Rain," which begs, "Can we stay inside and let the world go on its way/ Give me one kiss for every moment that remains." Though musically all over the map, this Street is one worth getting lost on.

Bottom Line: Deluxe transatlantic trip

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