Release Date: Nov 4, 2014
Record label: Righteous Babe Records
Genre(s): Folk, Pop/Rock, Contemporary Singer/Songwriter, Alternative Folk, Anti-Folk, Urban Folk
Ani DiFranco's extensive catalog boasts records that range from punky folk to funky jazz to electronically appended rock. She has relentlessly and restlessly explored her creative passions and obsessions with a vengeance. Allergic to Water was recorded in two four-day sessions -- one while she was six-and-a-half months pregnant -- at her home in New Orleans and a studio in Treme.
Ani DiFranco says she doesn't hate her new "wreckord." I'm inclined to agree with her. In fact, I like some of the songs on Allergic To Water, Difranco's 20th independent release in over two decades. Recorded at home and in a church while DiFranco was pregnant (and when her son was six months old), the New Orleans-based singer-songwriter not only self-produced, she self-mixed this time as well.More loose than solid as a collection, Allergic kicks off with "Dithering," a funky song about information overload and clutter that alternately hangs and briskly trudges (if you can imagine a brisk trudge).
When Ani DiFranco, the high priestess of feminist folk, comes out with a new record, it’s customary that a significant portion of the run time will be devoted to protesting political and social injustice. The quest for equally shared human rights has always been a touchstone topic for DiFranco: she challenged gender and sexuality stereotypes with early songs like “Little Plastic Castles” and, most recently, called out the legacy of trickle-down Reaganomics by rewriting the lyrics to the pro-union song “Which Side Are You On?” On Allergic to Water, her 18th studio release, DiFranco declares her reservations early on about Big Data and internet-induced A. D.
Ani DiFranco’s greatest gift — more than her restlessness, more than her urgency, more than her political fervor — is how direct a communicator she is. More than once on “Allergic to Water,” she finds the razor-thin overlap between seemingly incompatible ideas, and claims a position that’s not just clearly stated but tenable. The title track explains how the thing she needs to live is also the thing that’s killing her, all without demanding (or inadvertently prompting) pity, while she makes a personal choice in “Happy All the Time” without dismissing the bad stuff very much present all around her.