Six years ago, Abra Moore seemed on the verge of a mainstream breakthrough with her Grammy-nominated single “Four Leaf Clover” and the superb album from which that song sprang. As so often happens, however, circumstances conspired to scuttle her burgeoning stardom, even as Moore acolytes such as Michelle Branch and Vanessa Carlton enjoyed far greater attention.
By all rights, this long-overdue follow-up to 1997′s Strangest Places should qualify Moore for some type of comeback-of-the-year award. Rife with shimmery neo-psychedelic arrangements, strummy acoustic guitar-based ruminations and stately piano balladry, Everything Changed could serve as a primer for the young pop upstart crowd. High points include the jangly, vintage Westerbergian “Big Sky”, the gently buoyant “Taking Chances”, and two compositions (“Family Affair” and “Paint On Your Wings”) that pay poetic homage to Moore’s painter father, to whom she tended until his recent death.
Indeed, thematically, a sense of melancholy optimism hovers over nearly everything here, and it’s all dished up in Moore’s wispy (but never coy) soprano. That sense of melancholy is never more in evidence than on “I Win”, a candlelit torch ballad which straddles the line between regret and resilience. As is the case with much of Everything Changed, in the hands of a lesser artist the song might well have sunk into easy sentiment, but in Moore’s hands it feels just right.