Music » Critics' Choices

Lovers

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Portland, Oregon's Carolyn Berk has released five albums of weighty, confrontational songs under the name Lovers. Over the past couple of years, though, she has drastically altered her means of expression. What once were stripped-down, woman-with-a-guitar arrangements have evolved into songs performed by a three-piece synth-pop girl group. But the depth of a mature singer-songwriter unmistakably remains. What a drag not to know how you are/Or which of us got the raw deal, Berk sings, sounding a bit like PJ Harvey with a bouncier backing band. It's emotionally raw, direct music that recalls and builds on Lovers' geographical and feminist forebears in the riot-grrrl movement.

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