Reviewed by Tony Cummings
Every reviewer comes to an album with prejudices. My prejudices include artists with double-barreled names (conjuring up, to me, images of substandard, classically trained sopranos) and cheap looking sleeves (suggesting you're about to hear cheaply produced music). But in truth this humble package contains some real treasures. For a start Loriann, who was born in South Africa but now ministers at the Dunstable Community Church, has a fine, rich voice able to swoop from full throated stridency to delicate upper octave leaps though never overdoing the vocal gymnastics which clog the performances of all those TV talent search entrants. Secondly, Loriaan has wisely gone to the hugely gifted musician/producer Phil Goss to record her debut album, and as Cross Rhythms has long attested, the Aylesbury-based studio maestro is able to tease out more from a small recording budget than anyone else on the UK scene. Here Goss encases Ms Smith-Taylor in a clever variety of arrangements from reflective balladry ("Believe") to punchy pop-rock ("New Sound"). When one considers that as well as engineering and co-producing Goss played guitars (both electric and acoustic), bass, drums, piano, synths, percussion and Hammond organ one can only be awed at his multi-faceted talents. One final heads up should go to one Emma O'Connor who with her backing vocalists bring deft embellishments to Loriaan's strong melodies (the singer wrote or co-wrote the 10 songs here). The only snags in this highly accomplished set are one or two less than memorable melodies and lyrics which never deviate from simple affirmations of worship (eg, "I lift up my hands to you/Sing this song just for you" or "How great is our God/Hallelujah to the King") which cannot be faulted in terms of their worshipful sincerity but sound stereotypical to those (like this reviewer) exposed to similar lyrics on the tidal wave of today's worship releases. But don't let this one proviso stop you from investigating 'Believe'. Clearly Loriaan is an exceptional singer and worship leader deserving to be heard way beyond the confines of Dunstable.
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not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed
views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may
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