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April 2000

8 1/2 Souvenirs
Twisted Desire
RCA Victor

On their second major-label release, Twisted Desire, the Austin, Texas-based 8 1/2 Souvenirs let you know where they stand right away: The opener is a slinky, Brian Setzered version of ZZ Top's "Sharp Dressed Man." Sure, it's played for laughs, but it's also sexy as hell. Twenty-one-year-old lead singer Chrysta Bell is a pouty-lipped knockout with a honey-dripped alto that could make most men dump their families and buy a Porsche. (And no, you're not crazy: She is singing directly to you.) Guitarist/songwriter Olivier Giraud puts enough rockabilly twang into his thick licks to make you forget that he was born in Paris-and writes most of his songs as if he were scoring mid-'60s French cinema. When the band starts sounding too much like the Cowboy Junkies, you know it's time to skip tracks. But don't go much further than the samba chant of "Rhythm Is Magic," on which Bell seduces in Spanish and leaves you with only one thought: Jennifer Lopez who?

Originally published in April 2000
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