STYLE: Pop RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 13271-1943 LABEL: Curb 8788602 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1 RELEASE DATE: 2005-03-01 RRP: £13.00
Reviewed by Stuart Blackburn
Natalie Grant has experienced some recognition Stateside with Dove nominations and all that. It is only fair to acknowledge that she has understood well the tastes of her home constituents. However, this side of the pond we will need more convincing. After a pointless intro track (fashionable these days), 'Awaken' gets out of bed with a generous slice of power pop. The comparison with Superchic[k] and the like is inevitable. Persisting in the maxim that imitation is the best form of flattery, "Something Beautiful" then pays a less than subtle tribute to Switchfoot. Even so, with Natalie's versatile vocals and rock chick aspirations this album makes a promising start. Then begins the drift to the middle of the road. Clearly her producer secured a good deal with a string orchestra in the Czech Republic. Its lush sounds adorn much of the rest of the album, as Natalie's voice becomes increasingly dramatic and overproduction smooths away any musical edge. Ironically herein lies "The Real Me" which is the strongest tune of the lot. It is a piano and strings affair, a considerable departure from the album's original musical direction. Just to ensure something for everyone, the penultimate track is a six minute gospel extravaganza featuring country music star Wynonna Judd. It is a pity that Natalie didn't have the courage to pursue her opening rock convictions but then we are talking Tennessee.
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