Ari is going more for the intellect than the impulse.

"Sometimes all I’ve got is 'pretty' when all else seems to fail ..."

Despite her misgivings in the fifth track of 85th and Nowhere, Michele Ari has a lot more going for her than just pretty. She picks up the mantle dropped in the late 90s by Natalie Merchant (and stomped on over the past decade by the neverending parade of pop princesses), shakes it out, and tries it on. Not a bad fit.

Because it’s been a while since we’ve heard the female collegiate singer/songwriter style, it does take a couple of songs to adjust. Think more performance art poetry than pop charts. Ari is going more for the intellect than the impulse. Once you let go of the need for glitter and glam, you can get lost in these six musing tracks and their honest introspection. You can even appreciate the contrast of a sweet, 60s folkie voice singing modern jangly pop/rock.

The standout is the title track – very Debbie Harry, with elements of 80s new wave in the music. I also liked the smouldering, tragic vibe of Pretty.

I doubt we’ve seen the last of her. At least I hope not. This album fills a void in today’s top ten, infusing it with some much needed sophistication and thoughtful songcrafting."