I'll be honest- I'm not a fan of female vocalists. It seems silly to say when I'm female, but my problem is that there aren't many female singers out there who like to rock. Most of the time, they make pretty, dainty piano songs that would make a testosterone pumping male like Colin Farrell go on a murderous rampage.
This album is no different. I'm not saying Joanna McMeikan isn't talented- this woman has a voice with so much power behind it that I had to turn down the volume on my headphones in fear that she was going to implode my eardrums. My ears rang for ten minutes after I turned the disc off. Whoever did her mixing and production is a genius- every song is perfectly balanced and full, each note caressing her voice, the obvious focal point of almost every tune.
Unfortunately, those are the only nice things I can think of to say. The songs range from either crap rejects from Riverdance ("January Snow") to a bizarre love song to prescription pills ("Rainbow"). Keep popping those little blue pills that "paint you a rainbow," Joanna - I guess you must need them. What's even more disturbing is that I'm not sure if this song is supposed to be a sarcastic jab at our overmedicated world (in which case, it's genius) or if it's a sincere thank you to her shrink for drugging her up (in which case, maybe you should up the dosage, doc).
Halfway through the disc, I'll admit that things begin to look up a bit. "Past Unconditional" is a bopping R&B flavored tune. Her gentle British voice floats ethereally in spoken word over a really solid, thumping beat that has at least 3 mesmerizing layers. One would think all these layers would make the song painful and distracting- to the contrary, it creates a beautiful multi-rhythmic melody.
The groove keeps coming on in "Galatea", a jazzy mellow track. Yet despite the beauty of the song, her piercing soprano is a distraction throughout. I was won over by "Laughable Tragedy" because of the lyrics that sneer about how everyone has a plastic smile in their pocket in California. It seems that even across the ocean, people understand the falseness of the West Coast. This song also displays a dry, sarcastic sense of humor that I think may have been lost in translation in the Prozac Love Song ("Rainbow").
Then it's back to run of the mill on the last three tracks. I want to reiterate that the songs are beautiful and haunting- they just all seem to sound the same to me. Warbling, mournful, introspective lyrics matched with a decorative piano. Yawn. A mediocre effort at best.