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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Olivia d'Abo

Not TV

Review by Gary Hill

When I first got this CD I remembered that Olivia d’Abo was, in addition to being a musician, an actress. I didn’t remember on what TV shows and movies. Once I looked her up on the internet I realized that the biggest claim to fame, in my book anyway, was a recurring role on the small screen (OK most TV screens aren’t so small these days, but still). I’m a huge fan of all the “Law and Order” shows, but I  am especially addicted to the “Criminal Intent” episodes that feature Detective Robert Gorham. His character is just so cool. Well, as it turns out d’Abo played one of the most chilling characters (Nicole Wallace) on that show – an Australian woman posing as a British Professor (at least when we first meet her). She was both cold and charming and just plain evil! She become a regular thorn in the side of Gorham (or “Bobby” as she chose to call him) over several episodes.

I wished I’d never read that before I sat down to do this review. In the back of my head the whole time I kept thinking that if I had anything bad to say she might come looking for me. Well, my guess is that d”Abo is a pleasant person and nothing like her character on the show. Even if she were one and the same it wouldn’t matter, though. This is really quite a strong CD. There is very little that one could complain about here.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2008  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Under Tow
This has a tasty musical motif. It’s an alternative rock meets singer songwriter styled ballad. The strings later add some nice textures to the arrangement. The chorus is quite catchy and more energized. This really becomes quite a cool piece of music.
Half Mad and Never Pleased
Here we are treated to a killer soulful jazz arrangement. This is lower in energy than the last one, but seriously packed with loads of “cool.’ I like this a lot.
Revolution
This is an intriguing cut. Parts of it are in the singer songwriter sort of motif from the first cut. The thing is, that’s just one piece of the puzzle here. At times this is dramatic and perhaps a bit Pink Floyd-like in terms of its moodiness. The rocking sections are really tasty, too. The end result is a song that’s a highlight of the disc and nearly progressive rock in form.

Ne'er Do Well
Light and playful parts of this have a down home feeling to them. Other portions have a certain Beatles-esque element brought on, at least in part, by the classical strings.

Medicine Girl
A slower, almost bluesy, retro atmosphere leads things off here. This grows into some of the most powerful music on show here. In fact, I like this one so much that it might be my favorite on the disc.

When I Was Bad
This is another that’s a bit more light-hearted. It’s a strong pop rock number and with plenty of character and style. There’s no weak music here, but this sits near the top of the pack.
Addicted
In a serious change of pace, this seems to combine lounge jazz with European electronic pop. It’s a fun number.
Wide Open Spaces
Here’s another powered up number. It’s rather progressive rock in nature. I like this one a lot. It’s one of my favorites on show here.
Caroline
This starts as a pretty piano ballad number and grows from there in organic ways. It’s pretty and slow moving. It’s got quite an emotional texture to it. I wouldn’t say it’s one of my favorites here, but it does have its moments and the cool keyboard dominated section definitely has a lot going for it.

Catastrophe
While there are no molds broken here this one has enough of a twist and change here to keep things interesting. It’s a bit more rock oriented than some of the stuff and works pretty well. It’s another that has hints of Beatles-isms. The string section that closes this is pretty and a bit sad.

 
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