Evolve

Ani DiFranco. | Righteous Babe.

Confidence suffuses the grooves of Ani DiFranco's crackling Evolve. Always a savvy observer of sexual politics and everyday relationships, DiFranco butts heads with a difficult lover on the funky "In the Way" and searches for "that quiet place where I accept myself" amid the mellow textures of "Second Intermission." So commanding are the vocals -- echoing torch singers and soul shouters -- that it's easy to overlook her luminous acoustic guitar, showcased to bracing effect on "Phase." Declaring in the rousing title track that she has "more and more to do," but "less and less to prove," DiFranco sounds like she's having a blast all the way.

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