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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Elisha Marin

Shining Out

Review by Gary Hill

There is not a weak song here. However, this set would probably be a case where less is more. Too much of it is based on slow moving, acoustic driven music. That creates a tendency toward sameness. There are some tunes that don't fit the mold, but not enough of them. I think that if a few of the overly similar songs were pulled, this would just flow better as a whole. Then again, a lot of people listen to just a song or two at a time these days, rather than a whole album. So, perhaps it's only so important to have a strong release as a whole unit.

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Track by Track Review
Shining Out
A dramatic ambience brings the set in. The cut works to a folk-music based arrangement for the transition to the song proper. This is roots based modern alternative music.
My Love Regardless
There is a jazzy groove to this cut. The number has more energy and really grooves. It's all class. The jazzy concepts seem to drop away to some degree later with a real alternative rock and pop vibe on hand.
My Girl
Back into mellower, folk-styled zones, this still manages to retain some of those jazz elements. It's a nice change-up from the last number, and works well to continue to define the musical concepts of the release.
Intricate acoustic guitar is at the heart of this cut. The tune is even mellower than the last one was. I like it quite a bit.
Stone Heart of Mine
The slow moving, mellow folk modes are in the driver's seat here, too. It feels like the range and variety are beginning to wear a little thin. Still, the tune works pretty well. I dig the echoey country electric guitar solo.
Respite Baby
Just when we sorely needed a change, we get one. This is a meaty, bluesy kind of groove with a lot of soul and style built into it. This is one of the standouts of the set.
A bouncy acoustic approach is in the driver's seat on this number.
The Notice
Another acoustic tune, this is slow and folk music based. It has some cool guitar fills in the mix.
Heavenly Father
I like the little guitar slide built into this acoustic based piece, and it has some other charms, but the formula is beginning to wear a little thin by this point. As the arrangement fills out, though, it gains some drama and magic.
Love is a Luxury
There is a bit of a jazz element on this mellow tune, but the instrumental break has a real country edge to it. While the formula is still a little tired, this manages to stand taller than it's basis.
Where I’m Going
Acoustic folk music with some hints of country is the concept here. This is not a bad song, but the monolithic nature of the release is definitely beginning to weigh this down.
Tenement Stacks
An even mellower number takes the closing position on the release. This is evocative and has some magic built into it. It's unfortunate that it follows so many similar songs because it can't stand as tall as it should as a result.


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