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Rosie Thomas
ONLY WITH LAUGHTER CAN YOU WIN
(Sub Pop)
Stars graphics

On her second album, Rosie Thomas again shows that gestures neednít be grand to be powerful. In some ways, her indie-folk sound has a lot in common with that of close pal, periodic collaborator, and fellow Seattle-ite Damien Jurado: tender acoustic guitars and piano, gently tapped drums, and whispers of violin, cello, organ, and glockenspiel fashioned into arrangements as modest as a Quaker meeting house. But whereas Jurado seeks truths by telling the stories of others, Thomas quietly reveals her own self-doubts, foibles, and spiritual uncertainties while searching for elusive answers. "How am I to live this life when the only certainty is that death is waiting for me at the end?" she wonders in "Tell Me How," with a sweetly pining falsetto thatís recalls both Joni Mitchell and Sub Pop labelmate Heather Duby. "Loneliness follows me around/Loneliness drags me down," she confesses on the exquisite "Crazy." Yet a sanguine faith is present as well, both in the possibility of true love ("Let Myself Fall," "All My Life") and in the idea that tomorrow just might be better than today ("Gradually").

BY MICHAEL ALAN GOLDBERG


Issue Date: October 17 - 23, 2003
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