MP3 Ramona the Pest - Little Knives
The 12 (+1) songs on Little Knives comprise a desperately packed bouquet of heartbroken lullabies and diary-frank revelations, following in the no-holds-barred indie folk tradition set by their first CD, Cans of Worms.
11 MP3 Songs
POP: Folky Pop, ROCK: Acoustic
From the Urban View (Oakland, CA) 9/13/00:
"The 12 (+1) songs on Little Knives comprise a desperately packed bouquet of heartbroken lullabies and diary-frank revelations, following in the no-holds-barred indie folk tradition set by their first CD, Cans of Worms.
Just as on that disc, the two most immediately noticeable and striking features of Little Knives are Valerie Esway''s voice and each song''s intently thoughtful arrangements. Each song strives to make the most of the musicians'' talents and the soaring, luminous qualities of Esway''s vocal chords.
The arrangements this time around are more daring, featuring a cadre of musicians-including Esway''s husband Lucio Menegon, Alex de Soria and Jon Curtis of Peachfish, Gunnar Madsen, Kathleen Fernald, and Ari Fellow-Mannion-who play everything from a vintage Hammond B-3 organ to violin and ukulele.
The song offerings on this new outing are dark and contemplative. Esway''s lyrics explore the inevitable calamities of love in songs such as "Crash!" with wit and occasional rage that recall Ani DiFranco. (Relationship troubling ya? Try this line on for size: "Here we stand knee deep in each other''s crap/I throw it at you and you hurl it back." Hoo-ha!)
There are also more complex and less explicit musings on loneliness, apathy, and disconnectedness, most notably on "Big Black Hole". The title track, though, belies the philosophical question at the album''s heart: How do you know what''s best when nothing or no one is telling you what to do? The answer: A line from "Close to Far From Here" borrowed from humanitarian Albert Schweitzer: "All work that is worth anything is done in faith". The faith, here, it seems, is in the music.
The album also takes advantage of a great benefit of the indie music paradigm: They''ve made a limited pressing of 1,000 Cds in elegant hand screenprinted packaging, as if the fine music weren''t enough of a gift. Ramona the Pest is an example of independent music at it''s finest: unique, compelling music that is entirely self-produced and distributed. While they''d certainly be commercially successful at a large label, RTP''s music is too personal and too idiosyncratic to thrive in any corporate setting, and here''s hoping they won''t be trying that route any time soon."