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CD Reviews:  Rachel Sage: Illusion's Carnival
 


Rating:

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One can imagine that a review of someone who draws comparison to Sarah MacLachlan and Tori Amos on a "guys" Website would question the cajones of the person writing the review. I feel comfortable in my masculinity this time because independent artist Rachael Sage writes good songs, plain and simple. It's pop/rock with strong classical influences, mainly from Sage's days with the School of American Ballet. But yet it's more, as evidenced by the fact that she was a grand prize winner in the "2001 John Lennon Songwriting Contest," and has toured with such artists as Melissa Ferrick and Ani DiFranco, along with being a support act on Lilith Fair.

"Angel" is a beautiful ballad with sensual, whispery vocals (listen guys, I said sensual!). "Trouble" has more of a lighter, theme-from-Peanuts feel, but is complex rhythmically and lyrically. If you haven't lived in New York, I can't totally explain this to you, but "Before it Comes" has this hip New York City jazzy/pop vibe to it. The most riveting tracks by far are "Unbeauty," a song about lost love and appreciating inner beauty, and "Linger," which has haunting chord changes and shows off Rachael's balance of power vocals with effective falsetto. "Camera" brings an electric guitar into the fold but tends to drag a bit. Things pick up again with "Memory" and "I Am Gonna Try," both of which show that Sage has unlimited potential as a songwriter.

The breathy, whispery vocals are incredibly sexy but somehow tend to grate on me just a little midway through this CD. I will say, though, that Sage balances the songs according to tempo and rhythm nicely, so it's good at keeping the listener's interest. She's also an incredible piano player. Tori fans, please don't hate me for this because I know how sensitive you can be, but the comparison is real -- open your ears to this one. The rest of you should pick it up too, especially if you're a fan of good pop music with character and class. 


~Mike Farley 
mfarley@bullz-eye.com 

 

 


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