Alison Sudol, as A Fine Frenzy, creates a penetrating brand of unabashed pop rock that’s difficult to ignore. Her 2007 debut, “One Cell in the Sea,” was the work of a still-learning singer-songwriter pianist, but featured moments stronger than others as Sudol navigated the waters. (In an interview around the record’s release Sudol told me that she “trips. I say silly things, I sometimes get tongue-tied. I get starstruck. I wouldn’t want to get good at being cool,” which immediately made me crush on her.) The new record from A Fine Frenzy, called “Bomb in a Birdcage” (Virgin), shows a more confident songwriter and performer in Sudol, as she weaves her way through melancholy choruses like “You go on and I’ll be happier,” on “Happier,” with incredible soul. It’s not all soft whispering, however, as alt-rock tracks like “Blown Away” and “Electric Twist” move with a smooth grace. If she was just a little less overproduced and had a little more dirt on her sound, Sudol could be amazing, but what are we to expect while she’s still on Virgin. (Tom Lynch)
A Fine Frenzy plays November 4 at Park West, 322 W. Armitage, (773)929-5959, at 7:30pm.