Masts of Manhatta
It’s been 14 years since Tracy Bonham scored a hit with the angsty “Mother Mother” and five since her last album. On her fourth LP, she’s all grown up, setting aside her anxieties and settling into a languid record about falling in love and getting in touch with nature. And with such leisurely themes guiding it, Masts of Manhatta can be an occasionally sluggish ride with the once-ferocious singer-songwriter (remember when she spat “I’m hungry, I’m dirty, I’m losing my mind”?). Working with Tchad Blake — who’s added density to Los Lobos and Tom Waits records — Bonham certainly paints an atmospheric mood here. Her deep, smoky voice adds to the tranquility. But all of this laidback musing pushes the album into sleepy-time territory. Bonham shows some spark in “Devil’s Got Your Boyfriend” and “Big Red Heart,” but much of Masts of Manhatta drifts along without much flash. Where’s that bundle of neuroses we used to know? —Michael Gallucci (follow me on Twitter @mgallucci)
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