Sweet and Sour
Intelligent, busy songs, busy in the arrangements and musical sounds that enter unexpectedly, as on opener Heart of Wonder, piano strikes, jagged guitar and orchestral inserts, sax too, suddenly, and Combs with a fine vocal. Good pop sensibilities; lyrically astute.
Second Sleepwalker strips it back at the start, double bass, light percussion and vocal, some gentle harmonising, then the strings – these are finely crafted. Dirty Rain pursues its environmental concern with a sickly sweet vocal that rises to falsetto again and again and this is perhaps too much in the busyness, the strings here confirming the over-layering of syrup.
Hazel seems quite old-school in its folk sound, back to a good way, the vocal peaks here somehow more in keeping with the plaintive lyrics about loneliness and love. You know, those themes. Rose Colored Blues intones Glenn Campbell in that safe sound of long ago. Better Ways has some fuzz backdrop and a funky bass, but this too echoes of a past sound, and I quite like that comfort zone, Fleetwood Mac crossed with David Gates just to make the touchstones sound a little different.
Lauralee does, however, suggest the dangers. A mixed bag, most of the sweets tasty, but some sour the experience.