Electric Angel,
(self-produced, 2000)

The electric harps of Electric Angel create a unique sound that is surprisingly versatile and journeys beyond simple ear candy. The strength of Dream is the way Electric Angel's instrumental tunes borrow familiar elements from other musical styles to supply a broad range for their harps to cover. "Caramar" evokes Pachelbel's "Canon in D" and "Blue Rondo a la Turk" takes a jazz standard and tweaks it with the infusion of the electric harps.

Most of the songs on this album suggest a mental journey. The haunting composition of "On Wings of a Dream" is like walking through a forest at night. It lets the mind take over while surprising you with unexpected twists and turns, such as vocal soundings or "vocalese." The electric sitar is the guide while the percussion creates a pace that unexpectedly (but comfortably) changes.

These ladies from the San Francisco Bay area -- Midyne Spear, Jill Meniketti and Lynne Reardon -- don't rely just on their harps. Their vocals are pretty strong as well. "I Believe" is catchy pop song with a style similar to the late '80s ballads. While the lyrics seem to have been written for an audience of pre-teenagers, listeners should ignore their reluctance, indulge in forgotten youth, embrace their inner Debbie Gibson and enjoy this song.

Their Celtic cover of "Higher Ground" is a relaxing groove. The "wah wah" from the electric harps is a truly original sound. The somewhat slow pace of this cover shows that these ladies understand their instruments. Instead of forcing their instruments, they urge the song to slow down and it works.

While this album is thoroughly enjoyable, there is regrettably a blemish. The third track, "Drawing Down the Moon," is aptly titled, as it could bring about lunacy. The percussive vocal resounding medley of "di-di-dis" and "ding-dongs" takes away from the nice instrumental accompaniment and quickly becomes annoying. Unlike most songs on this album, the vocals absolutely ruin the tune. As it is completely out of sync with the rest of the album, program your CD player to skip this track.

Don't let one mistake keep you from hearing an otherwise original and enjoyable album. Dream is delightfully kitsch. Listening to those electric harps and enjoying it is akin to the guilty pleasures of a Pure Moods CD or browsing in a Natural Wonders store. Electric Angel's Dream provides a solid performance that is consistently pleasant.

[ by C. Nathan Coyle ]
Rambles: 14 July 2001

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