With confident gracefulness and a command of all-things-nature, Mia Doi Todd deals out lush, flowery folk on her fifth album, Manzanita. A host of big indie names takes part in the affair, including gaunt and unshaven members from the Brian Jonestown Massacre, Beachwood Sparks, Dead Meadow and The Tyde, among others. Her lyrics tell of an affection for sleepy jewels from Leonard Cohen or Sandy Denny, but Manzanita isn't merely acoustic nostalgia; Todd veers into both upbeat and psychedelic regions as well. On "The Last Night of Winter," she reminisces colorfully about a past long-distance relationship, and along with rich prose, she trades the electronic elements she utilized on 2002's The Golden State for organic and serene chamber accompaniment. While California's indie-oriented '60s enthusiasts are as commonplace as unemployed bikers in a bowling alley parking lot, Todd's refreshing rhetorical musings easily outdo those of her mediocre contemporaries.
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