Eddy Lawrence,
Inside My Secret Pocket
(Snowplow, 2004)

Some songwriters, musing on the end of romance and the problems of starting anew, would produce an album of heartbreak and self pity. Eddy Lawrence reaches Inside My Secret Pocket and pulls out an album and a half of spine-thrilling, blood-pumping folk-rock.

Relationships on the skids make an appearance, along with cheating, selfish lovers, uncertain new friends and some good old-fashioned self-loathing. All are handled with refreshing energy and unusual insight.

"Selfish" explores the corruption of personal beliefs caused by betrayal, in a very direct and pragmatic way. "I'd Rather Eat Dirt" is bitter but also a proud protest against suffering love. And there is hope -- pragmatic and honest rather than romantic -- heard in the solid "Bulletproof Friend" and the triumphant finale "I Got the Power." "She Doesn't Like Poetry" delivers the feeling of giddy delight that comes in discovering a sympathetic partner in a very personal way, without once mentioning the word love or any of the standard romantic tropes.

Most of the songs fit into the theme of romances and heartbreaks, but all can be taken as singles with no loss of context. "She's Psychic" will remind almost everyone of at least one woman in their lives. My favorite track, "Mithras," has seemingly nothing to do with the rest of the album, being a very direct hymn to a widely forgotten god. But it ties in with one of the album's finest songs, "The Truth is Always Female." Sympathetic and lyrical, "The Truth" ties the confusions of a single relationship into the myths of human history, never losing a contemporary feel or a sense of immediate intimacy.

That constant sense of familiarity is the greatest strength of Inside My Secret Pocket, more even than the galvanizing guitar licks and feverishly infectious hooks. Lawrence has a rare gift for making the personal universal, summoning strong emotion without resorting to sentiment. If you're looking for a thoughtful album, a set of music to jam with, songs to make you think, or even a few laughs, look Inside My Secret Pocket.

- Rambles
written by Sarah Meador
published 3 September 2005

Buy it from Amazon.com.