After some success in the mid-'90s and a five-year wait since her last album, Tracy Bonham  returns to listeners' radars with her fourth set, "Masts of Manhatta." The album opens with "Devil's Got Your Boyfriend," a tango on which Bonham takes the role of a modern, sultry female singer/songwriter. But the song, which focuses on twisted romance, is the only dismally themed cut on the set. The remaining lyrics reflect the recent maturation of Bonham's personal life, most notably finding love and plans to adopt a child. Such feelings are manifested on "When You Laugh the World Laughs With You," a smooth track full of catchy vocals that show off Bonham's violin prowess. And her conflict between fast- and slow-paced living is evident on the sobering number "We Moved Our City to the Country," an ode to the woes of urban life that's littered with references to Home Depot, ringtones and bitmaps. Full of attractive instrumentation and unfalteringly charming lyricism, Bonham's collection brings a sophisticated quirkiness to the femme alt-pop table unseen for quite some time.
- Album Review