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Atlanta Journal Constitution (US)
Friday, April 12, 1996

A pop muse who mixes the earthy and ethereal

by Steve Dollar

Have harpsicord, will rock.

That might as well be a motto for Tori Amos, the flame-tresse singer whose solo tour brings her to the Fox Theatre on Sunday for two sold-out shows. Usually, the spotlight is on the performer's provocative lyrics and earthy-to-ethereal vocal theatrics.

But, to accompany songs from her recent and third album "Boys for Pele" (Atlantic), Amos also will be toting a keyboard that was popular during the Renaissance and Baroque eras.

"This instrument is challenging me as a person," Amos said during an Easter chat in New York, speaking between munches of popcorn and jetlag yawns. "You can't cheat it with a sustain pedal. It's all hanging out there as if you were [bare] under bright lighting."

Likewise "Pele." Panned by Rolling Stone, exhalted by Spin, this sprawling, free-associative opus can be read as wildly self-indulgent -- a one-woman therapy session gussied up with brass and bagpipes. or it can be seen as a bravely visionary leap into the Jungian void as Amos engages a menagerie of mythic, historical and imaginary figures on a quest for a renewed female identity.

"I need a big loan," she announces, in one of the record's key lines, the scent of helium on her breath, "from the girl zone." "I kind of feel like when I'm doing a show I travel," Amos says. "I'm there in body, but hopefully... I have the ability to go into the inner world, the arena of the unconscious."

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