EMI – 2002 – 54 minutes

Kasey Chambers seems torn between two nationalities. Despite her Australian birth, this Antipodean songstress is trapped in the body of a Nashville lass. At just 23, she won the hearts of critics with 'The Captain' and firmly rooted herself in the annals of country & western Americana.

Two years on comes 'Barricades & Brickwalls', a laconic collection of songs that will probably do very well in the US or specialist C&W charts. It is, however, one cohesive cliché from start to end. The title track would not sound out of place during a scene of chin-stroking anguish in 'Dawson's Creek'. This angst-ridden theme continues with tortured ballad 'Not Pretty Enough', a lesson in low self-esteem with a blander than bland melody.

'On A Bad Day' is a Dolly-esque lament about tears being washed away by the rain but sadly the influences worn on the sleeve don't end there. Using old style production sounds and plenty of instrumental twangs Chambers does her best 'Stars in Their Eyes' impression of Patsy Kline on 'A Little Bit Lonesome'. There's even a bad Gram Parsons cover – 'Still Feeling Blue' – for shame.

Chambers vocals are capable of plaintive strength when she avoids country schmaltz. A lot of these tracks would have won her the 'Ali McBeal' musical contract If Vonda Shepard hadn't pipped her to the post. Still: there's always 'Dawson's Creek'.

Sineád Gleeson

Tracklisting: Barricades & Brickwalls - Not Pretty Enough - On A Bad Day - Runaway Train - A Little Bit Lonesome - Nullarbor Song - A Million Tears - Still Feeling Blue - This Mountain – Crossfire - Falling Into You - If I Were You - I Still Pray