Picks and Pans Review: Bravebird

updated 03/01/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/01/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST

Amel Larrieux

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With her nuanced neo-soul stylings and less-is-more delivery, Amel Larrieux is the anti-Beyoncé. She fills her latest with subtle pleasures made for candlelight romancing rather than bootylicious prancing. Lush, sensual midtempo grooves showcase her supple soprano, which can soar to Mariah Carey-like heights. The New York City native, who cowrote all 12 tracks with her producer-husband, Laru Larrieux, glides between genres, incorporating jazz, house, funk and African rhythms. She also displays a delicate touch on the acoustic ballad "Sacred," plaintively pondering, "Is there nothing sacred anymore/Well maybe there never was, at all."

R&B

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