Picks and Pans Review: Back in the Circus

updated 03/29/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/29/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST

Jonatha Brooke

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Indie darling Jonatha Brooke sprinkles her latest disc with three terrific covers: a coolly ambient take on James Taylor's "Fire and Rain," an electronica-tinged rendition of the Beach Boys' "God Only Knows" and, best of all, a haunting acoustic version of the Alan Parsons Project's "Eye in the Sky" that completely reimagines the 1982 soft-rock hit. While none of Brooke's original material can touch these classics, the singer-songwriter-guitarist still keeps things strumming along nicely with her literate, Lilith-Fair-ready sounds. The whimsical title track is a midtempo waltz that gets the CD off on the right foot with its lilting accordion, while the country-accented ballad "It Matters Now" showcases Brooke's supple voice and insightful lyrics: "I wish I could say anything to wash away today/ 'Cause it won't matter when we're old.... It matters now." Even so, with the gift for remakes she displays here, one wonders what Brooke could do with an entire album of covers.


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