Alana Levandoski Lions and Werewolves

The explosion of pop candy that opens Alana Levandoski's sophomore album is like a dessert buffet for the ears. But when she gets down to meat and potatoes, the Manitoban singer-songwriter proves she's more than just empty calories. Produced by Grammy Award-winning British producer Ken Nelson (Coldplay, Snow Patrol), Lions and Werewolves fairly glistens. But although the guitar-licked choruses of poppy tunes like "Red Rover" and "Hello" are shiny and radio-ready, the rootsier side of Levandoski's catalogue is where she remains her warmest and most appealing. From the folk-y title track to the tremulous "Trapeze," Levandoski's delicate voice does beautiful justice to her unfailingly catchy choruses. After her well-received 2005 debut, Unsettled Down, this latest effort represents a major step forward for an artist that has caught the attention of everyone from Sylvia Tyson and Jann Arden to BBC Radio host and tastemaker Bob Harris. (Blue Lily/EMI)