EMBER SWIFT Stiltwalking (Few'll Ignite) Rating: NNN
Like it or not, Ember Swift is this country's answer to Buffalo queer-punk-folk threat Ani DiFranco. She's got the pipes, the politics and the vicious guitar down to a DiFrancoesque science. Thing is, Swift would have an Ani-sized career if she'd try writing a couple of catchy melodies. She comes close on this disc, particularly with the lovely 50s school-dance doo-wop of Ten Feet Tall, and the cowgirl shuffle of the sexy Lick Your Lips soars over Bob Egan's awesome pedal steel. Swift's definitely trying for variety, which is great. Still, she sticks to the tried and true (i.e., meandering funk rambles) too often for her own good. The lead track takes a weak stab at quirky freak funk with weird squelchy noises and tinny bass, and the title track, a "circus funk jam," sounds just like the usual stuff. Ember Swift launches Stiltwalking at Hugh's Room Friday (August 30).