Friday, February 17, 2006

Steve Gilmore Reviews: John and Lucie Collins - A Voice In The Night

Artist: John and Lucie Collins
Title: A Voice In The Night

A new name (at least to me) John and Lucie Collins have very little biographical information on their Soundclick page, so I have no idea where they are from or what their intentions are. I admit to having a slight heart palpitation when I discovered (while downloading the track) that they are influenced by - among others - Celine Dion, Barbra Streisand, Sarah Brightman - and I personally can't think of a more frightening trio of horrors than that. Not that I have anything more substantial to lay at these very talented ladies feet other than a pathological hatred of their style of intense, gut wrenching ballads that borders on the cringe-making. There is no doubt that they are all, in their way, consummately gifted singers - it's just a question of personal taste.

As far as this duo goes, John supplies the music and Lucie provides the vocal, so let's get straight to it.

As much as I hate the style, I am a sucker for a good (read powerful, expressive) female voice, and Lucie Collins has that most precious asset. With overtones of some of the greats of the genre, her voice soars and swoops over a very pedantic jazz tinged backing track definitely taking the spotlight it is due. One of my favourite female singers is the legendary Billie Holiday (1945-1959). Her rendition of the now classic 'Strange Fruit' was one of my first musical enlightenments and to this day brings shivers to my spine whenever I hear it. To say that there is both an element of the lady AND the song in A Voice In The Night is to pay this track a very high compliment indeed, and I thought long and hard about making such a claim.

However, continued playing of this excellent track, only served to confirm that feeling. It's understated musical score allows the voice to provide all the drama and excitement, and Lucie rises beautifully to the challenge. The music never outplays the vocal but does make its presence felt, especially on the little horn taps in the chorus, and the sax solo is just right in tone and delivery. Any more or less of this would have disturbed the tenor and tone of the track itself. Full marks then as far as the arrangements and delivery go, although personally I could have done with a little less reverb/delay on the vocals because - to my ears - it kinda detracted from what should have been an otherwise flawless track. More torch song than gut wrenching ballad, and as such something that I will come back to time and again because it is a track that is likely to take up residence on my hard drive more because of the Holiday references than any other factor. It does bode well, though, for further tracks from this obviously talented singer and producer/musician partner (he wrote the excellent lyrics)...

Wow, shivers down my backbone!! Recommended.

1 comment:

PFTW said...

I liked the reverb on her voice,normally I'm against reverb overkill, but in this case it give the song a bit of an aged dreamy feel. I also liked the music very much. Well played!