Astrid Swan Poverina

As a music lover, it’s always fun to hear something you haven’t before, as it enriches the senses and tests what you thought you knew about music. But, that kind of experience is actually somewhat draining and, similar to the beer at the end of a day of work, sometimes you just want an easy drinking taste — which Astrid Swan definitely qualifies as. Within a minute of the opener, artists like Fiona Apple and Tori Amos swam around in my exceedingly thick head along with other, numerous comparisons, mostly of the confessional piano player type. This head was indeed awash with many signposts of analysis and it was done, really, within two songs. There were some curveballs, notably the big brassy denouement of "Rock’N’Roll Blonde,” which more than makes up for its clichéd title. Actually, titles here should best be avoided, as when you get a powerful voice and intimate piano together and then title your work "War” or "Dad Said,” you might be skirting self-parody. Stick to Swan’s accessibility and slickness. Sure, it’s kinda empty and shallow, but there’s panache to spare, and, if anything, it sure made this job much easier. (MGM / Fox)