Who’s this brand-new artist you think, just before you read that the superb album you’re listening to is the 9th release from this talented young musician. So, definitely a bit of catching up to do, and if you like a well-crafted melodic rock that is as fresh as a bunch of Easter daffs’ then, like me, you‘ll be checking out the back catalogue. You might be excused, after learning that she has a signature guitar about to be launched by Brian May Guitars, for thinking that the singer, songwriter and guitarist is a frenetic plank spanker knocking out some sub metal stuff, all banging riffs and no content. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Sure, she can rock out and knows her way around the fretboard but her guitar playing is there to support what are an exceptionally strong set of songs. The distinctive guitar design that is being launched by the Queen guitarist, the first model not based on his own famously self-built guitar, is, unsurprisingly, called the “Arielle” and is a copy of her own home-built guitar, “Two-Tone”. If this recording is anything to go by it’s going to be a popular model (it is also a visually stunning design).
There is some tasty playing going on but the focus is on her powerfully melodic vocals. The artist is a big fan of music from the 60s & 70s and it shows; this collection has a classic rock feel and would not have been out of place coming out of US FM radio back in the late 70s/early 80s. The closest analogy is if you can imagine Susanna Hoff fronting the Heartbreakers, with Jellyfish producing.
The single “Peace of Mind” is a classy slice of power pop, with layered jangly guitars and tuneful hooks.
“This is Our Intervention” is a fabulously swinging rocker that starts with a single picked chord before launching into some strident chordal riffing that leads into three separate sections that all qualify as memorable choruses in their own right. A great song, typical of her expansive and inventive approach to songwriting. Superb.
Her vocal dexterity and range are shown on the spacy intro to closing track “Reimagine Redefine” as she holds high, sustained notes to create an ethereal sound that builds, as the guitar takes over, to a crescendo of a solo. “I’d Rather Be in England” is a lot of fun with a chirpy chorus that sounds like a group of St Trinian’s girls on the loose and features the most obvious display of guitar trickery with a bit of a cheeky nod to Brian May’s patronage by inserting a slick multi-tracked harmony guitar part for a quick burst of the melody from “God Save The Queen”.
Each song was apparently recorded in one take and recording took place in a variety of studios across Texas and Tennessee using a number of different musicians. The lyrics are thoughtful and add to the listening pleasure for what is a short but beautifully crafted set of songs played with real verve and energy. This is definitely an antidote to lockdown blues. Play on repeat.
Bluesdoodles rating: 5 Doodle Paws –Stupendous – A MUST for your collection you will play on repeat as a perfect antidote to lockdown blues
2. Digital World
3. Peace of Mind
4. This Is Our Intervention
5. Still A Man
6. Inside & Outside
7. I’d Rather Be in England
8. Living in A Fortress
9. Reimagine Redefine