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Mia Doi Todd: Manzanita

Mia Doi Todd: Manzanita

Label:Plug Research
Release Date:2005

By Andrew Earles | Posted 4/13/2005

For a singer/songwriter who piecemealed her approach until it reached a ceiling of minimalism, 2002’s The Golden State was about as grandiose a statement as Mia Doi Todd had ever attempted. It was, nonetheless, full of reworkings of older songs. That’s OK, as it ushered in the Mia Doi Todd of Manzanita (not to be confused with Mansquito, the Sci-Fi Channel thriller).

After a stunted run on Columbia’s jazz imprint, Todd returns with what is commonly referred to as “the career statement,” and undisputable evidence of such front-loads the album. “The Way” is an opener scripted for the Doi Todd novice or general burnt-out cynic—you will continue listening to an album that begins with a song such as this. Like Todd fronting the Beachwood Sparks on the great statement they never got around to writing, or a lush dirge that could be Bardo Pond after shedding a guitarist and some sludge, “The Way” is total confidence.

After that creative retirement fund things predictably level out. “What If We Do” is the saddest (and truest) love song you’ll have the luck of hearing all year—it also benefits from full-band treatment—while intermediate tracks such as “My Room Is White” lapse back into the sparseness for which Todd is known (not that it weakens their impact). To note a track that really rattles Manzanita’s cage, “Casa Nova” is a surprising throwback to the tropical cubicle pop of solo Phil Manzanera or 10cc.

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