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A GIRL CALLED EDDY A Girl Called Eddy ****

You might want to hate Eddy after encountering her narcissistic artist/album title and over-romanticized love-lost lyrics. But within the first 30 seconds of the first track, Eddy Moran’s honeyed alto will seep into the cracks of your numbed heart of bedrock, leaving you spellbound, mesmerized. Lyre, vibraphone, mellotron and Moog back up that nostalgic, expressive voice of enchanted, rainy New York nights on this album produced by former Pulp guitarist Richard Hawley. The timbre shimmers like Karen Carpenter’s; soothes you with the dignified, moody elegance of The Pretenders’ Chrissie Hynde. (Anti)

INSPECTOR Unidad, Cerveza y Ska **.5

Latin ska may not be your thing—face it, is it anyone’s?—but Inspector are admittedly good at what they do, even if they are completely predictable. They’re hot, though, pulling off a slick European DJ look to rival Paul Oakenfold. Not to be looks-heavy, but because you know what the album sounds like from beginning to end upon hearing “Latin ska,” perusing the CD booklet is a fun diversion. (Universal)

STRATA Strata **

Yet another Lost Prophets-with-a-pinch-o’-emo band steps up to the plate, hoping to hit the ball out of the park and win fame, respect and all the Oscar Meyer weiners you can stuff in your piehole. Like the LPs, Strata possess hefty songwriting skills, accessible hooks, soaring choruses that stick in your head worse than a Low Book Sales jingle—and a deadening lack of innovation. A no-risk investment for Wind-Up Records, then. (Wind-Up)

MIS-TEEQ Mis-teeq *

What’s the deal with self-titled albums this week? A hip-hop R& group of three exotically hot, sassy women with nary an inch of cellulite on their entire bodies ain’t anything new, and unfortunately for Mis-teeq, it’s been done far better by past vets like TLC and Salt N’ Pepa. Mis-teeq’s dimensionless, oily pop goes in one ear and out the other with no memorable hooks to dig into your brain. (Reprise)

SHIFTY Happy Love Sick *

If listening to this album doesn’t make you want to throw yourself in front of the nearest TRAX train, you’re a human vegetable, a Prozac addict, or a cadaver. Shifty (ex of Crazytown) guessed, correctly, that making girls feel unique is a foolproof way to get rich. The best/worst cut that keeps with that theme is: “I want to sex you up and lick you down/ You’re so special” (“Special”). (Maverick)

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Rebecca Vernon

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