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Aimee Mann Aimee Mann
Album: Mental Illness
Label: SuperEgo
Tracks: 11
Website: http://www.aimeemann.com

If you are one of those who thinks that the title of Mann's ninth studio album, and her first in five years, suggests an outpouring of introspective soul bearing, then think again. Or maybe don't, because although the singer-songwriter describes this album as her "… saddest, slowest…album yet", it's because, she says, she decided to live up to the impression that people had of her already, wrongly, she implies. She called the album Mental Illness because "…it's so blunt that it's funny".

The songs on Mental Illness are presented almost completely acoustically, with just Mann's melancholy guitar style (inspired, she says, by 60s and 70s folk-rock guitarists) with a few strings and keyboards thrown in.

Album opener 'Goose Snow Cone' arose from an experience of cat-sitting for a friend and a subsequent visit to the vet resulting in a 'cone of shame' - we've all been there. Despite it's source material, it's an upbeat almost poppy song, and one which stays with you long after hearing it.

However, we never repeat that level of foot-tappery, and such is the keen detail in most of the remaining lyrics that it might be hard to believe that there isn't just a smattering of self-observation in there. But given that Mann can proudly claim to have been named as one of The Huffington Post's "13 Funny Musicians You Should Be Following on Twitter" recently, because of her stinging observations on modern America (she happily performed for the Obamas so it should be clear where her loyalties lie), well if she says it's abit of fun, then you'd better go with it.

This is another fine collection of songs from Aimee Mann, but a little more variety in style and content might have been even more welcome.

Ian Taylor