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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Rosie Thomas
Only With Laughter Can You Win
Sub Pop Records

Rating: NR/10 ?


October 1, 2004
Rosie Thomas is like a shy, sweet friend who, on a brave little whim, lets you read her diary. You're standing in her faded, childlike bedroom, mutually self-conscious and trying not to match nervous gazes; but with entries so deeply heartfelt and poetic, you realize there is so much more sweetness to her than you'd ever known. After timidly sharing her heart on the page, you love her more.

With the same innocence, openness, and depth comes Only With Laughter Can You Win, a cathartic endeavor that draws from relief and sharing. Beginning with the lavish "Let Myself Fall," a broken hymn whose vocal echoes cascade off of creeks and baptismal pools, we know we are in for a complete and honest look at a loved one. Her voice is powerful, burrowing out from the weight of the world to peek its beautiful head.

"I Play Music" is a clear favorite on the disc, self-abasing and tongue-in-cheek, with a shrug of the shoulders and courageous truth: "When I sing I lose myself, there's nothing more I would rather do." Her heartbreak is so real, as is her faith. There is never a lost feeling or opportunity for growth, as Rosie Thomas' unsung humanity is based on trial and fortitude.

"Crazy" reminds us that Thomas' voice is a true gift, ranking alongside Gillian Welch and Allison Krauss in its down home grace, like a Kentucky choir girl who was told not to hide her light under a bushel. One can almost picture her in front of a crowd, bashfully closing her eyes with a palm raised in gratefulness. There is an almost religious feel throughout the album, crying out for unity. For every pang of sadness, there is a burst of hope. Her creations ring of such modest and touching sentiment.

While perhaps not as strong as her uniformly lauded debut When We Were Small, each song is wholly enjoyable, full of sincerity, and tempered by Thomas' glorious voice. An album of sweetly country-tinged acoustic ballads that stir humbly within the soul, Only With Laughter Can You Win is an exquisite showcase of a talented singer and an exposed heart.

Reviewed by Sarah Peters
A former music editor and staff writer for LAS, Sarah Peters recently disappeared. Perhaps one day she will surface again, who knows.

See other reviews by Sarah Peters

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