Peaceful Warriors
(Spherical Sound, 2003)

One of the highlights of this pop style album is Rebecca Hilton's voice, which has a special ethereal quality reminiscent of Kate Bush. Another echo is of Irish super group Clannad -- especially in the instrumental arrangements. Although there is much to enjoy throughout I am not so convinced at times with the lyrics themselves. Although they promote peace in the world, I do feel they are sometimes too spiritually vague and lack any political bite. I prefer to concentrate on the music itself which, although relying quite heavily on a synthesized sound, focuses attention on the qualities of Hilton's powerful singing. Drake Boley's violin provides variation as do additional vocals by Wen Boley and the Peaceful Warriors Peace Choir. Wen Boley also plays keyboards, drums and baritone yuke, and John C. Lloyd adds didgeridoo.

Although seven of the songs must be attributable to the band (although they are not credited with them on the sleeve notes), three are covers: Pete Seeger's "Where Have All the Flowers Gone," Chet Powers' "Get Together" and Lennon/McCartney's "Let It Be." They are successful renditions held together particularly well by Hilton's vocals.

One of the best numbers is the opener "Sail On," which features evocative violin and Boley's additional vocals providing an effective balance to Hilton's free ranging singing. The title song, "Peaceful Warriors," is a top example of the band's music and you cannot argue with the song's sentiments concluding "we can have peace ... if we believe." The violin gives the song a strong edge together with the choir and it is the one I shall remember most. Two other successful songs are "Wings of Grace" with its fuller sound and "What Have We Done," which has an appealing simplicity about it.

Perhaps the most intriguing song is the concluding "Om Mani Padme Hum (Compassion)," which has a cumulatively powerful effect as the title line is intoned in the background throughout. After Hilton simply speaks the first verse, her singing reaches impressive heights as the song reaches a conclusion summing up the whole album's spirit: "Tribulation will cease / When every nation / Shall live in peace."

- Rambles
written by Andy Jurgis
published 25 April 2004

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