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  •  BAND: LAURENELLI

    Laurenelli

    Isn't it romantic

    Folk, pop and new-wave veteran Lauren Agnelli shows off her way with a classic, unabashedly sentimental tune.

    By DAWN EDEN
    Offoffoff.com

    Followers of New York City's underground pop and folk scenes will recognize Laurenelli as one Lauren Agnelli, formerly of Grammy-nominated folk-rockers the Washington Squares and, before that, cute new-wavers Nervus Rex. More recently, she's released two albums as one-half of the exceedingly tuneful Agnelli & Rave, Rave being former Teenage Head leader Dave "Rave" DesRoches. She is known for her exquisite voice, delicate pop songwriting, and musical abilities (bass, guitar, accordion) that make her far more than your garden variety "chick singer."

      
    LAURENELLI
    Lauren Agnelli.

    Related links: Official site
    With Laurenelli, Agnelli has finally hit upon a concept that best displays her talents. Under that guise, she presents a side of herself that few have seen (unless they've picked up the albums she made with Texas retroheads Brave Combo): the chanteuse. Backed by a small, muted band, she sings originals mixed with tunes by Edith Piaf, Francoise Hardy, and the like. She also mines the great American songbook with Tin Pan Alley classics such as "Falling In Love Again" and "Hi-Lilli Hi-Lo" (both of which were, incidentally, also recorded by ex-Animal Alan Price, a fact which Agnelli could very well know, given her deep knowledge of 20th-century pop).

    What sets Laurenelli apart from the Losers Lounge crowd and other performers mining a similar vein is that her delivery is irony-free. Instead of distancing herself from the idealistic concept of romance that her material epitomizes, she bathes in it. She knows that the songs were written to touch people, not make them snicker.

    She also has a voice that can pull off Piaf. Her tone is very similar to Francoise Hardy's, as Hardy aficionados will notice in her rendering of the songstress's obscure "I Would Change My Life." In terms of emotion, she is capable of projecting both grown-up strength and little-girl vulnerability. Much of the entertainment in her shows is in witnessing her vacillate between the two.

    OCTOBER 21, 1999
    OFFOFFOFF.COM • THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK


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