Maverick - 2002 - 50 minutes

Given the midprice mess of her last studio effort, 'Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie', you have to wonder if the name of Alanis Morissette's latest is a ploy to make everyone forget the folly of four years ago. In many instances it works too, with 'Under Rug Swept' a solid but never spectacular return to what she does best.

Granted, it begins in alarmingly mediocre fashion with opening song title '21 Things I Want in a Lover' the only plus point of a track which mixes sub-Sabbath riffing with Alanis' romantic mission statement. Yum. It also gets worse with 'Narcissus', filler in excelsis and the perfect song for people who like their music to sound like a couch trip. But from there, she catches herself on, steadies the album until the close and creates some memorable, even singalong, moments in the process.

'Hands Clean' is the equal of any of her 1995 hits, 'Utopia' plays up the folky quality of her singing and while 'You Owe Me Nothing in Return' may move to her trademark wordy sentiments and gender explorations, it deserves praise for being the only Alanis song you can dance to in public. The highlight however, is 'That Particular Time', a simple torch song which taps into everyone's yesterdays and suggests that she should load up with more of this emotional ammo in the future.

Morissette has saved much face with this collection and many who deserted will return. But listening to her voice and over-stuffed lyrics you still feel that there's more to her than any of her albums have shown. So far.

Harry Guerin

Tracklisting: 21 Things I Want in a Lover - Narcissus - Hands Clean – Flinch - So Unsexy - Precious Illusions - That Particular Time - A Man - You Owe Me Nothing in Return - Surrendering – Utopia