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Arienne Hearts Charlie

The Greatest Show

Review by Gary Hill

This set has a lot of old-school jazz in the mix. The act is essentially a couple (I am not sure if they are joined by others or not - other than the track that specifically lists a guest - because I don't have the credits for the album), both of whose names, and their relationship, are playfully captured in their name. Both sing from time to time, but the majority of the songs feature Arienne as the lead vocalist. I have to say that for me, this works best when it stays fairly true to it's older roots. Some of the tracks seem to bring more modern edges to the production. To me those cheapen it just a little remove some of the unique characteristics. Still, that's a fairly minor quibble, and overall this is a strong release.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2021  Volume 5. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2021.

Track by Track Review
Voyeur
Jazzy guitar starts the set. The vocals have a bit of a modern edge, but this really feels like retro R&B in a lot of ways. The arrangement fills out, and the tune is quite effective. The duet concept works pretty well, too.
Loving Day
While the jazz concept remains with the guitar that serves as the opening element here, this has a little more of a slow blues concept. The tune does a great job of merging the modern with retro textures. The female vocals take the lead on this track. I love the horn sounds on this, and I think it's a stronger tune than it predecessor was.
All of Me
Again a jazz guitar starts, but this time the sounds of a crowded club are heard, too. This has a much more purely retro texture at its heart. It's a classy jazz romp. It is one of the standouts here.
Bare
This tune is more modern in a lot of ways. The concept of the tune is more old school jazz, though. It's the production and mix that makes it modern. The duet on the track works well.
Dysania
Some of this is too over-processed for my tastes. Beyond that, though, it works pretty well.
Solitude
I really love the jazz guitar and horn arrangement on this track. The vocals have a dreamy kind of torch-song quality that works really well. This is another of my favorites here.
Autumn Leaves feat. Ciaran
The fast-paced jazz guitar at the stop of this is so cool. The whole arrangement has a real classy jazz sound to it. The flute on this is a nice addition, and this is another standout track.
No One Knows
Now, this is a big change. The sound of a needle on a record starts the cut. The tune is more of a rocker. It has a lot of energy and a real driving vibe. I like this tune a lot. It even has some hints of progressive rock in some of the twists and turns. Violin is a nice addition to the mix, and the killer proggy jazz guitar solo near the end is great.
Beauty (for Arienne)
I love this classy instrumental. It features some cool jazzy guitar as the centerpiece of an involved jazzy arrangement.
Montero (Call Me By Your Name)
Another instrumental, this is also another winner. There is a cool Latin jazz vibe to the piece.
Voyeur - Trio Version
As you can probably guess, this is an alternate version of the opening song. I think I prefer this version because it has a little less production on it, resulting in a piece that feels more organic.
Bare - Single Version
Another "truth in advertising" moment, this is the single version of the earlier tune. This seems more organic than the other version of the tune. Again, I think I prefer this to the earlier one.
Solitude - Naked Version
This version of the tune just features guitar and vocals. It works quite well in this format.
 
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