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Shannon Wright: Secret Blood

Vicious Circle Records



While Atlanta resident Shannon Wright is known for her dark, minor-key elegies since going solo in '98, her approach has evolved across eight solo albums. Initially defined by a guitar attack that balanced snatches of melody against prickly riffs, Wright has toned down her aggressiveness lately while gravitating toward piano. The foreboding Secret Blood honors both styles. Some tracks linger in cabaret environs, flitting among the shadows of encroaching gloom. "Dim Reader" is circled by haunting textures of low-mixed, screeching guitars and organ wail; "Satellites" evokes the cold emptiness of space with somber piano; and album opener "Palomino" percolates with buzzing background noises while Wright's vocals sound ready to drown. These moody pieces are balanced against muscular tunes recalling Wright's earlier work, such as the steely, rhythmic "Violent Colors," and album highlight "Fractured." Despite the disparate sounds, the album's gothic tone gives the 12 tracks the cohesive power of her best work. (4 out of 5 stars)

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