David Browne
August 13, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

A Girl Called Eddy

Current Status
In Season
A Girl Called Eddy
Richard Hawley

We gave it a B

Want your pop women to belt like ”American Idol” contenders or pounce like faux punks? No problem — the charts are filled with them. But what about mature, thoughtful types who prefer to communicate their feelings and music with more nuance? Do such women exist anymore? Of course they do — you just have to search harder than usual. That includes looking across the ocean, where you’ll find new chanteuse Erin Moran, who smartly sidesteps being confused with the ”Happy Days” actress by using the stage name A Girl Called Eddy.

On her debut, A Girl Called Eddy, the New Jersey native now based in London prefers to look back rather than forward. Her clear-cut goal is to create elegant pop craftsmanship of the ’60s-supper-club sort. In resigned recountings of relationship breakdowns like ”People Used to Dream About the Future,” her rueful observations and dark-around-the-edges voice, combined with a preponderance of luxuriant strings and vibes, recall the heyday of Burt Bacharach.

At times, coproducer (and Pulp guitarist) Richard Hawley overwhelms the delicate tracks with excessive ornamentation. As with Topley-Bird, Eddy and her songs tend to shine brightest when they’re rattled with amplification. Among the album’s highlights are the dense blare and carefully articulated bile of ”The Long Goodbye” and the languid jangle and stoic yearning of ”Tears All Over Town” (in which she’s ”scattered like newspapers all over the street”). Once she gets her old-school jones fully out of her system, Eddy could truly be what the world — or the pop one, anyway — needs now.

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