(Secondsongs, 2002)

Secondsight is packaged in a solid CD holder coated in beige and black tones with a front picture that strongly hints at Spanish influence. The inside front shows a man's white dress-shirt and a black, flowery, Japanese-style woman's fan. A relaxed pose on the back cover, all the photos in fact, seem to indicate this is a true musical collaboration. To back that thought up, the inside cover states "Secondsight is Linda Dunn and Robert Horne" and "Linda and Robert played and sang everything."

It's a beautiful way to open a package of songs that are markedly romantic. Although Dunn's voice is the main feature, Horne holds the guitar and what a rich, invigorating sound he adds. Unobtrusive, yet difficult for me to imagine the songs without it, the guitar emotes and fully shares the stage with Dunn's voice.

Hers is a voice that easily stretches from smoky to stimulating, never losing that intangible something that is hers alone. I wasn't sure I liked this style on the first listen. I expected Latin, flamenco even, but that's not the focus of this album. The CD has lyrics with backbones of stainless steel and brass. "Little Whispers," "Row 24" and "Raising Atlantis" are polished to a shine. "Seventy-Eight Degrees" is mysterious and alluring without being overly dramatic. All tunes are wrapped in muscular ribbons of energetic guitar beats and move with the warm liquid flow of Dunn's Galliano voice: clear, spicy and firm. The guitar carries a few Spanish notes, but reaches into a lot of other creative rhythms to accompany the English-language lyrics.

I've listened about 20 times now, and the depth and majesty of what these two artists have created becomes more evident with each turn of the disc. Instead of becoming a tired and forgotten lump at the bottom of my CD pile, it's still close to the top, even though I tend to get bored easily with new sounds. On here, the music reaches different peaks of maturity with many subtle nuances to appreciate each time you hear it.

That doesn't mean I thought it was poorly done the first time I listened to it. To the contrary, I knew it was fine singing and playing, I just wasn't sure this was the music for me. This lets me suspect this recording will be treasured by a select group at first, but I also believe that many cuts on this CD will appeal to a wider audience because of the timeless structure of the music and lyrics. You should give this CD a try, it's a keeper.

- Rambles
written by Virginia MacIsaac
published 29 March 2003

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