Muruch.com Presents: Allison Crowe has been released! The 21-track digital album is available for purchase exclusively on Allison Crowe’s official Bandcamp page, so 100% of the proceeds will go directly to the artist herself.
As if new albums by Tori Amos, Joan Osborne and Natalie Merchant weren’t enough to make this a Lilith Fair Spring, Sarah McLachlan herself will release a new collection, Shine On, on May 6th. You can hear the first single, “In Your Shoes,” and read about the song’s inspiration at E!Online.
Shine On Tracklist:
1.In Your Shoes
2.Flesh and Blood
5.Surrender and Certainty
6.Song For My Father
7.Turn the Lights Down Low
8.Love Beside Me
9.Brink of Destruction
11.The Sound That Love Makes
12.What’s It Gonna Take
13. Little B
Seminal female rock band Heart just released their fourteenth studio album, Fanatic. The album is somewhat of a companion to their new memoir, Kicking and Dreaming. I had a mixed reaction to the recording. It’s one of those albums that’s torn between magnificence and mediocrity. Thankfully, though, its strengths are far greater than its weaknesses.
Something about the production of the opening title track seems a little off. Neither the instrumentation nor Ann’s vocals are individually bad, but they just don’t mesh as they should. Her vocal track seems to have been laid flatly on top of the arrangement rather than properly mixed with it.
“Dear Old America” is much better, though. The song is a swirling rocker written from perspective of a Marine returning home from war. Said Marine just happens to be the Wilson sisters’ father.
The tepid “Walkin’ Good” seems a wasted duet with Sarah McLachlan. Again I feel the problem lies in the production or mixing. According to the liner notes, Sarah recorded her vocal track and emailed it to be incorporated into the song. As a result, her voice is barely audible in the chorus.
The sultry “Skin and Bones” sets things right again with a bluesy rock style that fits perfectly with both Ann’s rich voice and Nancy’s searing guitar work. It’s smooth sailing after that, as the album’s second half is totally solid and praiseworthy.
The fantastic blues-rock anthem “A Million Miles” was inspired by the traditional folk song “900 Miles.”
The epic “Mashallah!” is the standout with its thunderous rock arrangement and wailing chorus, both of which remind us why Heart used to be nicknamed Little Led Zeppelin.
“59 Crunch,” which the band describes as “psycho surfer,” is another guitar-heavy rock track.
The finale “Corduroy Road” is the perfect marriage of the Heart’s usually dueling rock and acoustic sides.
As a whole, Fanatic doesn’t quite grab me as much as its predecessor, Red Velvet Car. However, the standout tracks mentioned above are among the best Heart’s ever recorded.
Welsh opera singer, former Doctor Who guest star and current Dancing With The Stars contestant Katherine Jenkins’ Believe is finally being released in the U.S. I reviewed the album when it was initially released in the U.K. two years ago. You can read my full album review by clicking here. As I said then, “The Welsh mezzo-soprano’s pristine, rafter-scraping voice is beautifully displayed on her new album…Katherine transforms classics by The Beatles, Queen and Edith Piaf into gorgeous arias and also covers newer songs by Evanescence and Sarah McLachlan. You can watch the official videos for her covers of “Angel” and “Bring Me To Life” below…
Laws of Illusion is Sarah McLachlan’s first studio album of all new material in seven years. Best known as the driving force behind Lilith Fair, the gifted Canadian singer-songwriter first captured my attention with her 1991 sophomore release Solace. Largely inspired by the breakup of her marriage, Laws of Illusion delves into a lyrical sorrow not heard from Sarah in this decade. Stylistically, however, the new album’s pop sound has more in common with 2003’s Afterglow than with her earlier catalogue. Luke Doucet guests on the new album, providing backing vocals and instrumentation to several tracks.
In a VH1 interview just before the release of 1993’s exquisite Fumbling Towards Ecstasy, Sarah spoke of her lifelong admiration of Joni Mitchell. Her first three albums strongly reflected that particular folk inspiration, but Sarah abandoned the poetic acoustics in favor of a more radio friendly pop style for her recent releases.
However, the press release for Laws of Illusion included a quote from her idol Joni Mitchell: “Sarah looks at love ‘from both sides now.'” That hint of a return to Sarah’s musical roots didn’t quite pan out, but the dual sentiment of Mitchell’s lyric does sum up the new album.
The best portions of Laws of Illusion examine the heartbreak and anger born of love gone wrong, finding Sarah returning to a deeper sound appropriate to such an emotional loss.
The betrayal anthem “Forgiveness” is a prime example of this darker tone and has accurately been described as the centerpiece of Laws of Illusion. The bluesy and atmospheric ballad “Rivers of Love” is another strong point, recalling Sarah’s debut Touch.
The rest of the album sounds more like the catchy recent hits by Sara Bareilles, particularly the jaunty and sentimental first single “Loving You Is Easy.” That’s certainly not a bad thing, for the world is in dire need of good pop songs. It just seems like a waste of Sarah’s beautiful voice.
The sparse music box arrangement of the finale “Bring on the Wonder” is a much lovelier display of Sarah’s substantial talents.
I was not granted permission to share an mp3, but you can hear samples at the links below…