fefe dobson (Island Def Jam) Rating: NNN
I was totally prepared to dismiss local eyeliner-happy rock chick Fefe Dobson as a wannabe Avrilian moppet, but her surprisingly solid debut made me reconsider. She's less prefab pop pseudo-rebel than sharp little tack who channels the chip on her shoulder (her track Unforgiven berates her deadbeat dad) into righteous rock indignation without whinging self-pity. Dobson's got a hook-smart production team, an affinity for crunchy guitars and a pleasant no-frills purr in the vein of Tracy Bonham or pre-motherhood Holly McNarland. Plus, she writes the bulk of both her lyrics and music, which sets her a notch above Lavigne's Matrix crutch. While the irony-free Eric Clapton/N'Sync mash-up Rock It Till You Drop It is undeniably bizarro, I've been humming the insanely catchy hook of Stupid Little Love Song for days.