Record Review - 1 June 12 2002

The old negative cliche about "girls with guitars" has taken a beating recently, as a lot of the most interesting and creative artists putting out new music are women. With Perfect City, her debut release on Slewfoot Records, Nashville native and current New York City resident Florence Dore adds to the credibility of this trend. With its pleasing mix of new and familiar styles, there's a lyrical depth to Perfect City that comes from her background as a professor of American literature at NYU.

While this could've been an opportunity to exude her oratory skills, Dore instead takes her specialization in Faulkner to heart, writing in an honest, understandable language. Dore frames most of her songs in a variety of locations — towns where she's lived over the years. This gently binding thread gives the album a wholeness that accentuates the listening experience.

Produced by Eric Ambel, the music ranges from gentle country tunes to hard-edged, melodic rockers. And the influences are clear. The title song is reminiscent of former Blood Oranges member Cheri Knight's more energetic work, and "No Nashville" is a twangy homage to the more sensitive side of life in Music City. Dore has a pleasant voice with a little edginess to it, and she manages to avoid the overly folky trap that many female artists find themselves falling into. Her music is intelligent, catchy — and coming soon to an imperfect city near you.

Florence Dore plays the Echo Lounge Fri., June 14.??