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The Observer
October 27, 2002

Added Nov 3, 2002

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Many thanks to Lucy for this review!

Scarlet's Walk (Epic 508782 2/9)

Scarlet's Walk is less an album than a Dantean journey through the underworld of modern-day America, an attempt at the Great American Novel in CD form. Taking in lapdancers, misguided Mexican revolutionaries, 9/11, Native American massacres, gurus and dark tempters called Crazy, it is a work of vaulting ambition. But despite a payload of 18 tracks, there aren't all that many songs on it. Wordy, sprawling, seven-minute piano-driven flights of fancy abound. Few really take off. Most affecting is Amos's unadorned, 43-second a capella, 'Wampum Prayer', mourning the loss of a continent to European greed. 'Pancake', too, holds together, lambasting a lecherous cult leader for his false dawns. A tune is just discernible in the distance. Mostly, though, Amos can only pirouette her Kate Bush-goes-Kerouac songs around genuine feeling, obscuring real meaning with lyric sheets as long as your arm.

Kitty Empire

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