CD Review - Stephanie Schneiderman 'Dangerous Fruit'

Stephanie Schneiderman has polish.
Stephanie Schneiderman has polish.
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Friday, May 1, 2009

STEPHANIE SCHNEIDERMAN "Dangerous Fruit" Self-released

WITH A NAME like Stephanie Schneiderman, pop chanteuse isn't necessarily the first profession that comes to mind. But Schneiderman's new album, "Dangerous Fruit," reveals a confident singer boasting a collection of torchy techno pop in the vein of Zero 7 or Morcheeba.

On her sixth solo album, Schneiderman gives her singer-songwriter stylings an electronic facelift, the product of her collaboration with producer Keith Schreiner. Most of the tracks on "Dangerous Fruit" contain similar elements: slow to mid-range tempos, mechanical-sounding beats, the constant picking of an acoustic guitar as well as a reverb-soaked gallery of studio effects.

But Schneiderman's ambition is admirable. The result is a polished studio album that feels fully realized and amplifies the drama and sophistication of what could have been a fairly standard folk-pop album.

Although most of the album flows together easily (to its credit, without seeming too same-y), the best parts are the more idiosyncratic moments where the sleek production breaks. "First Crack" features a softly purring electric guitar, a welcome change from the usual incorporation of acoustic. Additionally, "Recognize" includes guitar noise that saves the song from being too sleepy.

For all its studio flash, "Dangerous Fruit" is essentially an ambient record. It's an album you might put on after making a home-cooked meal for a date, right before you ask to refill the wine glasses.

Schneiderman's vocals take center stage on each track. She's a strong, expressive singer, most notably on such tracks as the acoustic album closer "Bianca," which would verge on bland if Schneiderman didn't work so hard to sell it. "Stone China," however, doesn't fare as well, thwarted by a grating vocal melody.

-- Dan Miller

Appearing Saturday at Night Cat in Easton, Md. (443-786-2750, Show starts at 8 p.m.

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