EP REVIEW: Andrea Desmond - Open Spaces
By Cyrus Rhodes - 01/23/2014 - 02:06 PM EST
Artist: Andrea Desmond
Album: Open Spaces (EP)
Label: Spectra Records
Genre: Alternative Pop/Rock
Sounds Like: Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians, Alanis Morissette, Cranberries, No Doubt, Florence and the Mach
Technical Grade: 7/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 7/10
Commercial Value: 7/10
Overall Talent Level: 8/10
Songwriting Skills: 8/10
Performance Skill: 7/10
Best Songs: Dawn Breakers, Block the Heart
Weakness: Vocal Intensity, A few winded songs, Mix
Seattle based Singer, Songwriter Andrea Desmond seems to be making all the right moves. After having played with a number of different bands over the years, Andrea decided to form her own group "The White Lights", and has been working on solo material since 2012. Her music is in the libraries of a few popular LA radio stations and she has recently been nominated under the "singer" category by Spectra Records for the Shorty Awards. Andrea Desmond studied with and was instructed by Alan Menken; renown Oscar winning composer for Disney movies like "Beauty and the Beast" and "Alladin". Point is, Andrea has a few pretty great qualifications, and there is no doubt that there has been some serious time and effort invested into her musical ability as well as her blossoming solo career. A portion of the material on this album "Open Spaces" was released on "The White Lights" EP in December of 2012. What’s more Desmond has been signed to Spectra Records.
The CD kicks things off with the “Block the Heart” a catchy intro piece that serves up thick low end rhythm, impressive Keyboard accents meshed against hooky melodic pop groove, seductive lyrical content and passionate vocal delivery from Desmond. Track 2 “Dawn Breakers” serves up a methodical intro, with impressive Piano and guitar ambiance delivered with heartfelt vocals painted against a grand slam of a chorus making for an impressive follow up statement. Track 3, “I Can’t wait No Longer” keeps things moving in the right direction by combining the perfect balance of pop, alternative rock and singer/songwriter. The CD gets off the ground solidly serving up 3 hot tracks in a row. As the CD slowly unfolds I can hear many different musical textures reminiscent of classic musical acts as Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians, Alanis Morissette, The Cranberries, No Doubt and even Florence and the Machine. The music itself combines classic elements of catchy alternative rock, pop rock, and even traces of R&B to Jazzy pop. You will also notice synthetic musical elements layered everywhere from solid low-end rhythms and beats, flute, keyboard and Piano accents, and lush harmonies. The CD has some truly impressive moments on it showcasing impressive songwriting, world class grooves via an impressive “total package” front from Desmond. Now zeroing in now on Desmond’s voice: it goes down smooth and has a crystal clear vibrato and impressive falsetto. She's got mojo and makes the vital (singer to listener) emotional connection with her impressive vocals and visuals. If she just so happened to write all these songs well she could be bigger than any of us realize at the moment. From epic “Painting” to heartfelt “Run” this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with Track 5 “Teal Water” the perfect finale statement for an EP of this caliber.
It’s hard to find any noticeable weaknesses with this CD. All songs over 3.5 minutes tend to drag you to the finish line. But if could say anything to Desmond right now - it would be step back from the mic a bit on some of the slower parts, find that emotional pocket and ride down the intensity a bit. I really like the voice, the passion and the power from Desmond but she comes on way to strong on some songs, during certian moments, even when the music doesn’t really call for it. It’s fair to say Desmond is guilty of “over singing” some parts very much like an actor “overacts”. In most cases "under singing" is actually way better than "over singing." Though adequate some of the mixing strokes and production touches lack a modern day flair and marketability.
Open Spaces from Andrea Desmond showcases a Top Flight Independent artist from the Seattle area. Let me go on record and say Andrea Desmond is one artist to watch in 2014. It's an impressive catalogue of music that's easy to groove to, highly marketable, uplifting and extremely entertaining. Note for note, song for song there isn’t a weak piece on this entire 5 song EP catalogue. All pieces are short and sweet musical experiences, each one possessing its own signature groove and musical personality to call its own. The writing and singing abilities of Desmond are rock solid and the melodies and harmonies are well crafted and catchy. Last but not least the vocal presence from Desmond just makes the whole thing work by just being herself.
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