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[Off The Record]
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Shea Seger
THE MAY STREET PROJECT
(RCA)

Texas-born singer Shea Seger, a fierce-talking chanteuse, moved to London in 1998; she debuts here with a 13-track set ripe with rhythm and sultry with beats, all of it tense but muted. The bio for her knife-edged bluesy soprano says Sheryl Crow, Tori Amos, and (amazingly) Olivia Newton-John ó and yes, when she sings the romantic disconnection lyricized in " Twisted (Never Again) " and " I Love You Too Much, " itís wry and hard, like the work of Crow, with an occasional touch of Tori flamboyance.

Closer, however, to Segerís vein of sleazy house music, sentimental soul, and girly hip-hop ó and to producer Martin Terefeís artful funk, woozy Europop, and orchestrated fuss ó are the feral moods of Crystal Waters ( " Clutch " ) and the atmospherics of Sophie B. Hawkins ( " Walking on Rainbows " ). Terefeís seductive lushness allows Seger to be safe with all these influences and even to let loose her own brand of catlike scratch, pounce, and pout. And she sure can wail. Proof arrives in the sultry and soulful " Wasting the Rain, " " Isnít It Good, " a gospelish " I Canít Lie, " the wistful title tune, and " Clutch, " a housebeat romantic-obsession song that cries out for a diva-style David Morales remix.

BY MICHAEL FREEDBERG

Issue Date: June 28 - July 5, 2001





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