Consumer Guide Album
Syd Straw: Surprise [Virgin, 1989]
Fitting roots tastes to theatrical background, she connects song by song, eventually--lost dB's hit, riddle-me-rhyme, futurist nostalgia. But nowadays the smoothest singer-songwriter effort sounds mannered, and smooth this ain't: recorded in NYC, Woodstock, London, L.A., Austin, San Marcos, and Brian Eno's house with 37 musicians (no horns, no strings, 13 fairly famous guitarists), the album creaks with intelligence. Don't judge her by her claque. But don't believe her claque either.