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CD Review: Tori Amos

Abnormally Attracted to Sin (Universal Republic)

On her 10th album, alt-rock's fiery-haired pianist continues to make great music with her usual muses — religion, love, death and femininity. The 17 songs on Abnormally Attracted to Sin are boilerplate Amos and sound like the smart but difficult children of Kate Bush, Patti Smith and Laura Nyro. Compared to 2007's high-concept album American Doll Posse (which had 23 songs interpreted through five different alter-egos based on goddesses from Greek and Roman mythology), this record focuses more on concrete music than grandiose ideas.

The sound continues to evolve too. While American Doll Posse sounded like a free spirit trying to capture the America rock experience from various vantage points (in sound and politics), Abnormally Attracted to Sin is a brooding English affair (Amos has dual citizenship with her husband and sound engineer Mark Hawley). She sounds like a street urchin treating her demons to the gritty downtempo production of Massive Attack. "Give," "Strong Black Vine" and "Police Me" are nocturnal trip-hop tracks that recall the electronic feel of 1999's To Venus and Back. These ominous anthems are balanced by eclectic Amos-safe piano-pop tunes like the love ballad "500 Miles." For those who enjoy her more eccentric side, pick up the deluxe version of Abnormally Attracted to Sin with an accompanying DVD, which includes interlocking films that bring to life the visual narratives of each track. — Keith Gribbins

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