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Peter Jefferies joins the band and plays drums and
Sitting On Snaps (Matador, 1995). Whether because of his presence or
because of Lester's technical improvement,
Vacant Night Sky and Trapped Inside Your Heart sound like real
songs and not just screaming in front of an audience.
Smith also plays on
Peter Jefferies' 2 Foot Flame records.
The Eagle And The Poodle (Matador, 1996) is suddenly a pop album:
Jefferies has made a world of difference.
Who Shot Elvis (Matador, 1997) is even lighter, thanks to folk ditties
such as Step Into My Sphere.
With these last few albums, the duo has reinvented itself and turned a
political proposition into a musical enterprise.
As an expression of woman's rage, Smith's barbed-wire music has no equals.
Her vocal technique is certainly not pleasant, but so is life.
Her rebellious, witchy, guttural scat modulates the angst that punk-rock
Jean Smith (Kill Rock Stars, 2000) is the singer's solo debut and
one of her most radical works. Each song is improvised in studio and is meant
to document the process of creating music.
Ghost Of Understanding, for saxophone and percussion, and
Root Smooth Sapling Whips, for saxophone and piano, are intriguing,
but ultimately lack focus. Had she extended them into longer pieces, they
would have been more definitive statements of an artist at the border between
free jazz and avantgarde composition.
Mecca Normal's The Family Swan (Kill Rock Stars, 2002) continues Smith's
mission with the same passion but also with the same musical limits.
The Observer (Kill Rock Stars, 2006) is yet another charming collection
of intimate confessions such as
Fallen Skier, The Dark Side of Maria, 1922,
I'm Not Into Being the Woman You're with While You're Looking for the Woman You Want.