On September 8, 2009, A Fine Frenzy
—led by Alison Sudol—will release Bomb in a Birdcage
on Virgin Records, the follow-up to 2007’s critically acclaimed One Cell in the Sea
. While the debut established Sudol as one of the most talented young singers and songwriters around, the new album reveals another side of A Fine Frenzy.
"I think some people may be surprised," says 24-year-old Sudol. "They think that I’m all fragile and ethereal, but I have a wild side, too. I’m a quiet person with a loud streak, and this record is a testament to that."
reached Number One on Billboard
’s "Heatseeker" charts, and A Fine Frenzy was chosen as a VH1 "You Oughta Know" artist. The album received rave reviews in publications from Entertainment Weekly
Songs from the album were licensed to numerous television shows, and Sudol appeared on The Tonight Show, The CBS Early Show and The Late Show with David Letterman
. The young redheaded singer made her acting debut on CSI New York
and turned up in fashion spreads, but she received even more attention for her literary interests, including a band name taken from Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream
"Blow Away," the breezy, propulsive first single from Bomb in a Birdcage
, illustrates that the new album retains the tuneful charm and whimsical language of the debut, while adding new colors and textures. Lengthy tours alongside the likes of Rufus Wainwright
and Brandi Carlile
contributed to Sudol’s attraction to different sounds.
Image © Capitol Music Group
"On tour," she says, "I discovered that I love rocking out and having a good time. I started listening to as much music as I could. I didn’t want to limit myself. I wanted to stretch and grow and push myself. I also wanted to have fun."
The pivotal point for Bomb in a Birdcage
was "Stood Up," a sweeping rock ballad. "It was the most unruly I’d ever been," says Sudol. "I was scared by it at first and wanted to put it aside. But the songs I tend to love the most in the end are often the ones that, initially, I wanted to do away with."
Born in Seattle and raised in Los Angeles, Sudol retains a close relationship to the outdoors, and to the spirit of fantasy she found in writers like Lewis Carroll
and C.S. Lewis
. But she’s far from being some kind of romantic Luddite. In fact, she was active on Twitter (@AFineFrenzy) long before it became a cultural phenomenon—to the point that she now has over half a million followers, making her one of the top ten musicians on the service, alongside folks like Britney Spears
and John Mayer
The cliché is that an artist puts her whole life into her debut, and then has to crank out a follow-up while touring and feeling commercial pressure for the first time. But on Bomb in a Birdcage
, Alison Sudol has challenged herself, and reached heights that even she couldn’t imagine.
"I felt like being daring," she says. "I wasn’t interested in doing more of the same, that doesn’t inspire me. And now, I can’t wait to get on the road with this stuff! It’s going to be quite an undertaking, but I’m up for it."