Before I start the review I want to Thank Sara for submitting her new CD for review. Thank You Very Much Sara!
Now for the CD review...
Sara's strong vocal talents, unique lyrical phrasing and song writing skills are immediately evident as soon as "I Think I Better" begins. The lyrics reflect a young and positive outlook on life. Sarah's strong vocal performance overshadows the rhythm section on this song.
The second track, "He Smells Of Summer", is one of my favorites on Sara's CD debut release. The tempo, feeling and sound are completely different from the first song, revealing Sara's diverse musical talents and strong songwriting abilities. Her musical talent defies her young age.
The percussive eggshaker track carries this song along with a fingerpicked acoustic guitar. The eggshaker is a very cool, unique touch and the banjo playing is great. The vocals begin with a breathy, mellow sound that match the lyrical content. The emphasis on "wind" is a unique touch. The vocals continue along into a almost pleading shout then go back down after a musical interlude. I hear a distorted guitar track carrying the musical break along in my head or maybe a punchy bass track.
True to form "Willow Tree" has a feeling and sound different from the first two songs. I like this song even more than "He Smells Of Summer". The ukulele intro is refreshing and easy on my over-driven ears. The bongo and tambourine performance is excellent, they accompany the vocals and mandolin perfectly. The upright bass track is great as well. The vocals have a breathy, seductive quality that is easy on the ears. Sara has a very listenable and melodic singing voice. Sara's natural singing talent really shines through on "Willow Tree". This is my favorite song on Sara's CD.
The fourth song, "Today I'm OK" is a happy and uplifting song. Once again the vocal performance is outstanding. Again I have to comment on the listenable quality of Sara's singing voice. Sara's positive lyrics and engaging voice grabs your listening attention and keeps your ear focused on the song and melody. This song had me envisioning a girl dancing in my head and then I found myself looking at the sky. The bass track is a little busy which takes away from the melody.
"For You" is a piano driven track, which demonstrates Sara's talent at playing and composing on many different types of instruments. Once again this track proves Sara's diverse talents defy her age. The guitar/piano intro is great. The guitar figure during the chorus takes the focus away from the piano melody a bit, the guitar figure would make a great solo during the song. Overall "For You" is a great, melodic track.
The 6th track, "Carry Me Away" is yet another type of musical soundscape. The rhythm section has a calypso feel during the verse. The feel of this song is bouncy and jumpy. The drums are solid and they sound great, best percussion performance on "On The Rise".
"Knock Knocking" is an excellent and fun song. The music sounds like a classic, nursery rhyme and it's playful, child-like lyric is interesting. The lyrics sound like Sara may be reliving a few childhood memories through this song. Skipping along to the rhythm is highly recommended!
"Optophobia" first caught my attention because of the interesting song title. I looked up the meaning of the song title on the interwebs almost immediately. Most of the songs contained on "On The Rise" are positive in sound and lyric, this song, however is not. That doesn't mean it's not as good as the other tracks or bad in any way. The stark contrast is why I like this song so much. This song is very cool and quirky with it's odd noises and dark, piano filled soundscape. The vocal performance on this song is great, the vocal effect at 3:17 is a very nice touch but it's barely noticeable. My super hearing caught the effect after a few very focused listens.
I must say that (sometimes) I wish the sun wasn't so....bright.
The title track, "On The Rise" is a uplifting, positive song is sound and feeling. A perfect song for a young singer/songwriter who is definitely on the rise. Music can take people places and Sara's musical talents will take her places if she continues to grow and cultivate her many great talents through original music CD releases like "On The Rise". The vocal harmonies and mandolin playing on this particular song are excellent.
"And That's All" is a great song. I don't know if this song was specifically created to close out Sara's "On The Rise" CD but it is a great choice. The lyrics are interesting and entertaining and the vocal performance is once again, great. The sound and feel of the song is vibrant and happy.
Sara's debut release "On The Rise" is a great start to a promising music career. The rhythm section tracks on "On The Rise" could be mixed a little more prominently at times but overall "On The Rise" is a great sounding debut from a highly talented, young artist.
Once again I'd like toThank Sara for submitting her CD for review.
CD credits are as follows: Sara Elizabeth, Lead Vocals, Acoustic/Electric Guitars, Banjo, Ukulele, Piano, Mandolin and Sound Programming. Anthony Rideout, Electric and Upright Bass. Joe Thomas, Drums, Eggshaker, Congas, Tambourine and Body Percussion and Chris Jacobs, Sound Programming and Effects.
All songs written, arranged and copyrighted by Sara Elizabeth Genco. Produced and engineered by Sara Elizabeth Genco and Chris Jacobs. Recorded at SUNY and Buffalo Slee Hall Recording Studio. CD Photography by David Genco. Album art by Sara Elizabeth Genco.
Goto www.saraelizabethmusic.com to find out more about Sara, her music and how you can pick up your very own copy of "On The Rise".