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Knuckle down

Ani DiFranco’s sound is so unique and her instrumental base so minimalist that she runs the risk every album of merely repeating the same songs with different lyrics. She has two speeds – the upbeat bouncy tracks that showcase her dexterous and rhythmic guitar playing and the minor key songs that tug at the heartstrings as she lyrically purges her soul. Such is Knuckle Down – a winding narrative of an album full of snappy acoustic guitar hooks, subtle basslines and DiFranco’s half-spoken, half-sung vocal delivery which flits dramatically from angry diatribes (‘course, you’re the kind of guy who doesn’t lie, he just doctors everything … but you can’t fool the queen baby’) to gentle pathos (‘tonight with every breath, I can feel my death’) with a touch of the confessional thrown in for good measure. DiFranco is nothing if not honest. And here she’s as prickly and acerbic as ever.