html> Splendid Fired Review

Reviewer: Dave Madden on the web

Can you guess what this disc is about? No, it isn't more gangsta-rap based on the film Office Space, but it is about getting fired and the emotions that accompany said unnatural disaster. This might seem a bit boring and passť on paper, but hang on -- this is one of those cases where it's what you do with the equipment that matters. Fired echoes the work of Lindsay's previous three discs (The Story of What Works, Bring It On and Gotta Lotta) in its folksy musical approach: one voice, one guitar, a few subtle orchestrations and a bunch of honest words. This six-song EP portrays the world exactly as Lindsay sees it; she's hoping to "help everyone to feel like they are part of one enormous, happy, unemployed family. The American people."

Fortunately, this potentially clumsy concept doesn't get in the way of the music. Lindsay carries her disdain for the corporate world on her shoulders with grace, a tinge of sadness, some fear, and enough humor to make the disc much more than a bitter rant. She's confident in her talk of cleaning out her desk, and insistent that we "don't look back now" ("Paper"), as reflected in the upbeat chug of acoustic guitar and harmonica; her ability to abruptly shift the mood -- both musically and lyrically -- as she voices her doubts is uncanny. "Shoe Fly Shoe" highlights Lindsay's Beth Ortonesque croon as she twists her tongue around words of "your ulcer ain't pretty, it's from coffee and whiskey". "Tick Tock" is quite an anomaly -- it's a sudden venture into hip-hop beats and samples, but it has flair and is well-crafted; once you get past the initial thought of "what is this doing sandwiched among five folk tunes?", it seems quite natural. "You Not Me" even made me forget my bias against banjo, as it's done so tenderly and tastefully that I would miss it if it were absent.

Lindsay's approach isn't necessarily unique: we've all heard "take this job and shove it" records before. The disc is notable because Lindsay's focus isn't so much on the extra-musical material as it is on the actual music and her lovely voice. Her "agenda" isn't a subversive one, intended to right all the world's wrongs -- folk singers take note -- and she doesn't take herself so seriously as to compromise the quality of her music. For all its potentially weighty subject matter, Fired! is thoroughly entertaining.