CharmerProper/Superego Records ****
We’re blue in the face telling all and sundry that, with each successive album, US singer and songwriter Aimee Mann just keeps getting better and better. Her previous few releases (including 2005’s The Forgotten Arm and 2008’s @%*! Smilers) may have copper-fastened her reputation as one of America’s most acutely observant songwriters, but (here we go again) significant crossover success has so far eluded her. By now, of course, there will always be a following, if only from devout fans, for Mann’s beguiling way with a lyrical worldview and a punchy pop sensibility that is second to none. By turns smartly poetic in word and rather earthier in sound, Charmer is aptly titled, but instead of underlying deceit and strategy (charm’s negative traits) there is truth and integrity.
Download tracks: Disappeared, Living a Lie, Gumby, Red Flag Diver