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CD REVIEW: Sonicjoy - "Urban Angel"
By Gian F - 02/21/2004 - 05:08 PM EST

Artist: Sonicjoy
Album: "Urban Angel"
CD Review: Genre: Pop/Ambient/Electronica
Sounds Like: ?
Technical Grade: 8
Production/Musicianship Grade: 10
Commercial Value: 10
Overall Talent Level: 10
Songwriting Skills: 10
Performance Skill: 9
Best Songs: Transformation, Sanctuary, Never Never Land
Weakness: Mastering
CD Review: Wow! That's the appropriate way to start a review about Sonicjoy, from Canada. If you love electronica/ambient music you must get this CD. If you enjoy quality songwriting and musically innovative production, you must get this CD. If you are seeking a truly unique listening experience that will take you on a cultural, spiritual, and mystical journey, you must get this!

The band consisting of Joyelle Brandt (lead vocals), Sam Ryan (djembe bass), Mike Jeven (sampler/ percussion), and Shawn Jacobson (keyboards) have a phenomenal orchestral chemistry with each other. They effortlessly and successfully blend musical styles, textures, and influences throughout this entire project, combining African chants, percussions and jazz over beds of trance, break and house beats. The combination and mixture of nuances is powerful and mesmerizing. Joyelle's icy vocals add distinction, personality, and emotion to their arsenal of aural stimulants. I must also mention that Sam Ryan (who doubled as the project's producer) gets my award for the best production on an indie project (so far this year).

Not only is this project superb in its concept, creation, and execution, it is the most coherent project I have ever received. It is very difficult to just listen to one song because they flow so beautifully into each other. The interludes between songs are not interruptions, they are brief intermissions to maintain and strengthen your interest. Before you know it you become oblivious to time and have listened to the entire project. How many CDs can you say that about? This is undoubtedly the strongest artistic statement that I have received all year. Everything from the award winning artwork and imagery on the CD cover, to the group photo of the band reeks of quality and creativity. They even have the right name! Sonicjoy has really got it together and are truly deserving of major success.

Advice: Because I absolutely loved this project, it was difficult to identify a weakness. If it is ever picked up and distributed by a major, the ONLY thing that I would change would be the mastering. I would have the engineer emulate the mastering of Everything But The Girl's "Like The Deserts Miss The Rain" CD. If I had to choose a single to release in the US it would be "Transformation" with its catchy melody, percolating bass line, and relevant lyrical content. It's a bonafide hit. Keep creating at a high level and do all that is necessary to get the success that you guys so truly deserve.

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