For many years in the alternative revolution of the early '90s, Mary Lou Lord was touted as the next big thing by those in the know, but she never delivered a full-length album, preferring to turn out a series of indie EPs on Kill Rock Stars. It wasn't until 1998 that she released her full-length debut, Got No Shadow. While many of the titles on the album may be familiar to longtime fans -- "Lights Are Changing," "Some Jingle Jangle Morning," "Western Union Desperate," "Subway" -- the clean, polished sound of Got No Shadow might come as surprise. But the production actually does a nice job of opening up her sound, making it accessible like a Shawn Colvin record without losing integrity. Some critics may carp that Lord wrote or co-wrote seven of the 13 tracks of the record, with the rest of the songs devoted to covers of her longtime associate Nick Saloman (the Bevis Frond), and one tune apiece from Elizabeth Cotton ("Shake Sugaree") and Freedy Johnston ("The Lucky One"), but that has the effect of strengthening the album, since there isn't a weak song here. Lord has a sweet, thin voice that is surprisingly versatile, and she delivers Saloman's songs as convincingly as her own. Got No Shadow is a little subdued, but Lord's charming performances, clever lyrics, and catchy melodies prove remarkably resonant. It may not have the unvarnished appeal of the early EPs and tapes, but Got No Shadow was worth waiting for.
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