It's one thing to admire an artist, but when you completely fall
for them, the music becomes a part of you. From the title and
several music terms splashed about, it seems there is some training
absent from the average release we see at Hybrid. But it's all
grounded. This multi-instrumentalist knows how music works and
when to break those rules. Rather than excluding us lesser forms
with pomposity, the offerings here draw you in. Denise Bonis's
talents as a musician were recognized by Lisa Germano,
who enlisted her service for her own latest record. In return,
Germano was instrumental in bringing Cadence to fruition.
You've got to listen past the irksome Casio on the first two
songs. Backed by this Fisher-Price plunking, Bonis intentionally
missteps her vocals. Don't be fooled, it's a red herring. That
or a hazing ritual designed to filter out mainstreamers. She
throws the first round to knock your ass out later.
Bonis croons in a sultry, sleepy-eyed style similar to Nora
Jones but with tasteful and unique flourishes. When the vocals
double, the harmonies embrace warmly. A rich thread weaves them
around the melody, then leaps over it with intriguing phrasing.
Each tune brings a new treat like Dave Stewart buzzing
synths or rambling Felt-like piano. The simple Leonard
Cohen themes are prettied up with clever accents.
Out of context, the lyrics "I had a dream/it came true/twice
in fact I'm embarrassed to tell you/and each time you pull my
spine like string/and from my mouth cliches ring pointlessly,"
are still laudable. But reading them can't compare to when they
are plugged into smart progressions and kissed by Bonis' lilt
and groan. While the topics span longing, fulfillment and loss,
the subtle approach is natural and freeing. There's an acceptance
that all these modes are connected and valid. The steamy tone
of "Sea Levels" leads to a loss without regret in
"Ridiculous," which doesn't distract from the defiance
of "I Told You So." A realistic darkness permeates
the picture, acknowledging the beauty in sorrow.
Expect more treasures from this rare talent, assuming the handlers
don't get hold of her. I'd rather see her go back to selling books
than get the Jewel makover.
4. Everywhere I Go, Piano
5. Sea Levels
6. It's Not Working
8. Feels Good
9. I Told You
12. We're Strange
13. Everywhere I Go, Swelling Strings
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