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Kay Hanley | Cherry Marmalade | review | alternative | rock | Lollipop

Kay Hanley

Cherry Marmalade (Zoe/Rounder)
by Jamie Kiffel

Quick: What's the first thing you think of when you hear the name Kay Hanley? Josie and the Pussycats? The soundtrack to Ten Things I Hate About You? Lead singer of now-defunct Letters to Cleo? Is it relevant to mention that I think of my college boyfriend who, during a four-month hiatus in our relationship, claims to have dated Kay? Maybe that's why her unmistakably adorable sound always reminds me of young love, and perhaps a hint of bitterness.

Regardless, this gal defines pop anthems, with smooth, sweet, slick tunes that are lusciously singable and an adorable, clear voice that could as easily be milking a Britney Spears boobsalot delivery as it does Boston alt-pop. But the lyrics are sweeter, the emotion is real, and why not - Hanley has a husband (Michael Eisenstein, ex-Cleo guitarist) and a two-year-old to deepen her reality. But make no mistake: This is deliciously indulgent pop rock that will be reverently sung by at least a generation of pigtailed college gals. The love songs are still as plaintive and bitter as in the Letters To Cleo days, making me wonder how a happily-married rocker chick keeps that bitterness so believable (yet charming). Maybe she's just a good actor. Or does a scorned heart really transcend the wedding band? Not that I'd know...
(1 Camp St. Cambridge, MA 02140)


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