Laura Love Fourteen Days

This is a bright, sunny, upbeat recording by a fresh talent who defies categorisation. Dubbed Afro-Celtic by some, she's a closet pop singer who thrives on variety and whose superb vocal talents ultimately define her truly original sound. Folk/funk, African/Appalachian and house/Celtic are other descriptors used to "explain" her music. Her roots include singing in a blues/grunge outfit and a winsome foursome called Venus Envy. Fourteen Days is her fifth release, but the common elements in this most recent effort are generous rhythmic layers, rich percussion and a penchant for piercing gypsy fiddles. The Spanish-sounding "Sativa" contrasts with the album's benchmark track, "Sometimes Davey Wins" - an indescribably playful tune that falls somewhere between Laura Nyro and Paula Cole. Just try playing it once and not returning it to it often. And speaking of self-confidence, Love even covers Nyro's "Stoned Soul Picnic" and more than pulls it off. You have to admire anyone walking a tightrope stretched this taut. Better still, you have to love her overall accomplishment here. There's no keeping her down (Rounder)