STYLE: Pop RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 158285-23333 LABEL: Independent FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1
Reviewed by Andrew Wallace
'Sound Of A Living Heart' is album number 11 for Cross Rhythms radio favourite JJ. Containing more of the Californian's signature raw, acoustic style and trademark relatable lyrics this latest recording is a definite move into more straight-up pop territory and an expansion of Heller's sonic landscape. Excellently produced by Jonny Macintosh with a slick contemporary sound, great care has been taken with the texture of each song; through the skilful use and placement of percussion, keys, strings, background vocals (and even harmonica) making for an interesting and varied soundscape. Heller's voice is in top form, confident and dripping with emotion. "Sound Of A Living Heart" is a pulsating power ballad with a message of coming out of darkness and finding new life in Christ - a gospel choir breaking in effectively as Heller sings about rising from the grave. "Silence" with its Coldplay-esque vibe encourages a friend in their struggle - the vocals at times reminiscent of Leigh Nash. "Daylight" is more stripped back, Heller waxing poetic of her need for God's love over a simple piano background. Perhaps the only slight misstep is the sentimental story-song "Father-Daughter Dance" in which Heller duets with Matt Hammitt of Sanctus Real - too schmaltzy for my liking. Overall though, an excellent album from an artist still trying to grow.
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