||Made In China CD (2005)
Joe Keefe CD discography By 2005, Juliana Hatfield had suffered at the hands of major labels, independent labels, and the rock press, which insisted on comparing her solo work to her acclaimed early jangle-pop band Blake Babies. In response, Hatfield founded her own label (Ye Olde Records), and released a batch of her rawest, most penetrating compositions. MADE IN CHINA has the feel of a true indie recording: passionate, edgy, and imbued with an authentic raggedness around the edges. The music churns up through a lo-fi murk ("overproduced" is not a criticism that could be leveled at this album), with distorted guitars, sleepy, effects-laden vocals, messy bursts of guitar solos, and punk-inspired punch.
The first half of the album rocks hard, with Hatfield blending a hard-edged sensibility with her renowned penchant for pop hooks ("What Do I Care," "Stay Awake"). But the album reaches its peak at the halfway point with the jittery "My Pet Lion," the cynical and delightfully catchy rock-star satire "Going Blonde," and the stark, stripped-down confessional "A Doe and Two Fawns," the album's highlight. The immediacy, smarts, and muscle of this set make it an uncompromising and satisfying effort.
Recording information: Cabin On The Island; Camp St., Cambridge, MA; The ...