BY LEE ZIMMERMAN
First a word of caution. When making up a playlist for that upcoming New Years Eve bash, don’t even think about adding Arizona to the mix. Unless, of course, it’s added for the specific purpose of assuaging those suffering the effects of a difficult morning after, when some soothing sounds might prove appropriate to nurse the hangers-ons languishing in hangover hell.
Truth is, Shedd is an unassuming navel-gazer — quiet, contemplative and not one to raise her volume for a delicate and dainty refrain. Possessing a certain doe-eyed charm, she delivers with scarcely more than a whisper, using acoustic guitars and well-mined harmonies to fill in the bare patches found in her fragile tapestries. And while that slo-core sound pervades overall, the occasional duet — particularly “Broken Arrows” (which sounds like Lee Hazlewood pitted against Francoise Hardy) and Sonic Youth’s surprising “Teenage Riot” (featuring Howe Gelb in a stunningly sublime performance) — adds that much-needed jolt to the proceedings.
Yet, for all its dearth of cheeriness, Arizona is a remarkably thoughtful endeavor, given that Shedd ruminates on subjects near and dear with earnest indulgence and wispy, winsome suggestion. Magnetic Fields’ “Candy” and her own “Control” fare best, if for no other reason, than they allow her unguarded innocence to gently shine through.
DOWNLOAD: “Control,” “Candy,” “Broken Arrows”