Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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  • Testimony [Philo, 1982] A-
  • Shadows on a Dime [Lucy, 1984] A-
  • Phantom Center [Chameleon, 1990] Neither

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Testimony [Philo, 1982]
It sure isn't her male backup that gives this Canadian the edge on her pastoral-lesbian sisters in the U.S.A.--the Olivia collective could duplicate these modestly imaginative folk-rock arrangements and maybe even think them up. But Ferron's natural musicianship is something special: the light, grainy, "halfway pretty" mezzo glances off sweet-and-sour words and melodies with a fetching ease that's never laid-back. And given the utopian burden of so much "women's music," an old sinner like me is reassured by all the grief she cops to. A-

Shadows on a Dime [Lucy, 1984]
She knows two or three melodies, she sings flat, she phrases every line the same, she can get pretty gauche lyrically, and in most of this she reminds me more than a little of, I'm sorry, the young Bob Dylan. The repetitious insistence of her most powerful songs drives home her commitment to folkie usages that in other women's music practitioners sound pat, purist, and out of it, and a shifting pool of (male and female) backup players provides the variety. From her smokily confessional introspection to her habitual occultism to her eight-minute, eight-stanza "It Won't Take Long" ("it" being the Revolution or something similar), her bullshit is her own. And she'll make you like it. A-

Phantom Center [Chameleon, 1990] Neither