Ani DiFranco has always been a maverick, unafraid to take chances with her music. Her songwriting is exceptionally strong, and at times, she has been very creative in the studio, but nothing she has done will prepare her fans for her new double album.
Revelling/Reckoning is a truly ambitious project, with a solid two hours of music spread over two decidedly different discs. Reckoning is the disc that will be the most comfortable to Ani’s fans. It could easily be subtitled “Coffeehouse Ani.” Even though the acoustic folk songs are very much a part of DiFranco’s canon, the touches of country and bluegrass are subtle but effective, giving her solo sound an intriguingly fresh sound. If Reckoning is “Coffeehouse Ani,” then Revelling is “Vegas Ani,” and may well be the most impressive thing she has recorded in an impressive career. The songs — although all Ani — are a dizzying array of styles, from funk to soul to jazz. DiFranco plays most of the instruments on Revelling but is also backed by a big horn section. Influences on the songs are as far ranging, as echoes of Curtis Mayfield and Dusty Springfield reverberate throughout the disc. At times, the songs and their production are simply jaw dropping. More than just a long record, Revelling/Reckoning is a bold experiment from a mature musician, comfortable with herself and not afraid to experiment with her sound while remaining true to herself.
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