Perfect City (Slewfoot)

Florence Dore 

Perfect City (Slewfoot)

Florence Dore is a literate singer/songwriter. Let the record show that this phrase is being used carefully, because 1) it implies that singer/songwriter types tend not to be particularly literate, and 2) it might turn off a large portion of Dore's potential fanbase, who'd respond to that adjective with a snort and a "la-de-da." But Dore comes by it honestly -- she has a doctorate in American literature (Faulkner specialty), and she's a literature professor in New York City. (The story of her signing to Springfield's Slewfoot must be mighty interesting.) You can't do "As I Lay Dying" in three minutes, but Dore gets close, writing lines such as Dusty kids running around/man loves me but doesn't want to own me to nail a not-quite-happy woman's portrait.

Though a bit more somber musically, Perfect City has the same qualities that made Kasey Chambers' The Captain and Amy Rigby's Diary of a Mod Housewife hoist cartoon exclamation points over listeners' heads. Produced by the ubiquitous Eric "Roscoe" Ambel, Perfect City has the kind of spaces and nods that let Dore's crackly voice work its magic. When she performs one of the saddest Christmas songs ever, or when she laments, tongue in cheek, that she might now be too old to make it, Dore sings words she understands deeply and truly. She's not country, but she can do country, as the "Everything I Dreamed," about the demise of the aforementioned everything, makes clear. Dore might be one-song-on-a-Sopranos-episode away from stardom; Perfect City is a slow burner, and its songs just keep hanging on.

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