Alanis Morissette, Brixton Academy, London

Brixton Academy, London

Being unlucky in love suits Alanis Morissette. Having made her name in the mid-1990s with debut album Jagged Little Pill, a barbed howl of rage at an unfaithful lover, the singer-songwriter recently made her most consistent record since then, Flavors of Entanglement, a solipsistic musing on her recent break-up from actor Ryan Reynolds.

The album relays her loss in typically candid and melodramatic terms, but Morissette is not playing the pained victim tonight. Surrounded by a slick, skinny tie-sporting band, she is in full-on rock chick mode, jouncing across the stage and headbanging from the waist like some bizarre hybrid of Eddie Van Halen, Sheryl Crow and Suzi Quatro.

Flavors of Entanglement gains from the electro-alchemy of its producer, Björk and Madonna collaborator Guy Sigsworth, and Morissette's new-found synth-heavy sound gives her songs fresh depth and resonance. Versions of Violence and Not As We may house lyrical long dark nights of the soul, but their brooding air of taut, throbbing menace somehow evokes Garbage, of all people.

Morissette's cathartic exorcisms are still woefully overwritten ("I've never been careless otherless like autonomy's twin," she declares on Moratorium) but her gawky sincerity makes such laboured sixth-form poetry appear forgivable. Likewise, In Praise of the Vulnerable Man, a gushing paean to her departed lover, charms despite being couched almost entirely in therapy-speak.

After an upbeat and in-your-face set, Morissette closes with an ebullient encore of Ironic and Thank You, and exits flashing a beaming grin and devil's horns - like a woman very much ready to move on from her latest romantic catastrophe.


Ian Gittins

The GuardianTramp

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