Dar Williams ~ End Of the Summer

Dar Williams ~ End Of the Summer

Dar Williams ~ End Of the Summer

Dar Williams's End of the Summer finds her following in the techno-folkie footsteps of Suzanne Vega and Rickie Lee Jones. Most of the tracks feature muscular rhythms provided by Sammy Merendino's programmed drum loops, and thickened textures provided by layers of electric and acoustic guitars. This new approach pays dividends for a singer-songwriter whose thin soprano and coffee house lyrics have often proven underwhelming in the past. Here she is encouraged by producer Steven Miller to cram as many words as possible into the herky-jerky verses and then release the tension with a chorus of simple statements and catchy melody. This allows her to run verbal riffs on slackers in "Party Generation", on therapy in "What Do You Hear in These Sounds", and on middle age in "Teenagers, Kick Our Butts". Some of these riffs are witty and some aren't, but they pay off in satisfying refrains where Williams's wispy voice is surrounded by belt-it-out harmony singers. While the title tune is Williams at her dreary, maudlin worst, another ballad, "If I Wrote You" (with harmonies by Richard Shindell), proves the techno-folkie formula can work even at slow tempos.

1 Are You Out There

2 Party Generation

3 If I Wrote You

4 What Do You Hear in These Sounds

5 End of the Summer

6 Teenagers, Kick Our Butts

7 My Friends

8 Bought and Sold

9 Road Buddy

10 It's a War in There

11 Better Things

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