Laws of Illusion

Breakups tend to bring out the best and worst in singer-songwriters. Unfortunately, Sarah McLachlan's first disc since splitting from her husband, Ashwin Sood, feels scattered: The carefree single "Loving You Is Easy" feels out of place. The rest alternates between vulnerability and bitterness, using the same sighs and moans with which she used to convey ecstasy. Producer Pierre Marchand strips away the gauzy instrumental layers of her old discs, but without them, her heavy-handedness is exposed.

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