April 02, 2001 12:00 PM

Jonatha Brooke (Bad Dog)

Album of the week

STARS “1”

During her stint as half of the early ’90s vocal group the Story, Jonatha Brooke developed a cult following with her jazz-tinged, rough-edged folk sound. A solo act since the duo broke up in 1994, Brooke was dumped by her record company in 1998 and began releasing music on her own Bad Dog label. And on her own terms. For her fourth disc Brooke maintains the breezy, matter-of-fact vocal stylings of her earlier work but takes things a step further with her deceptively simple, surprisingly poignant lyrics. On the melodic “Linger” she confesses to being of two romantic minds: “I am leaving cuz I love you/I am leaving cuz I don’t/ And I am hoping that you will follow/ And praying that you won’t.” On the eerie “New Dress” she sings in mesmerizing harmony with former Crowded House front-man Neil Finn. Despite “Walking,” which borders on preachiness, Pull is a grabber.

Bottom Line: Steady on

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