If you only read one review of Day For Night make it this
one. I guarantee that every other mention of this songer/singwriter
will contain the description "It's awfully Sarah,"
followed by "extremely McLachlan." I'll google
it later to confirm my speculation. It's too easy to lump Nell
Bryden into the ethereal world folk genre occupied by McKennitts,
Brennans and Siberrys. While fans of these notable
artists may enjoy her warm steady voice, she chooses a simpler
delivery. The focus is not on the American Idol flash of arpeggiated
runs, but a smooth pitch-perfect tone. When she does cascades
she never falls into the trap of letting it distract from the
path ahead. There are some subtle things going on in that throat
of hers, as she can open a tone up and turn it brash or warm.
All this is to say she has a voice like Roberta Flack.
Take that, Jonatha Brooke!
Shades of Peter Murphy color the music that carries this
mistress of vocal control, like wide expanses with plenty of interesting
scenes around every hill. The verses run ram-shod bleeding into
the choruses. "Disappear" borrows the bridge from CSN
and sometimes Y's "Southern Cross" while "White
Rose" is very reminiscent of U2's "One Tree Hill"
down to the Edge-y guitar pinging. The banjo and accordion
on "Meridian" is so underplayed, you'll hardly notice
you're listening to country. The title track turns darker, nearly
allowing Bryden to go full throttle. Similarly, "Jetblack
Sunrise" feels a bit like Danielle Dax before the
whole Beatles debacle. Gene Pitney's "I'm Gonna
Be Strong" gets the piano treatment and truly showcases her
The production is nice, with real snappy drums and layers of
ear-candy. Unfortunately Bryden may get overlooked in a world
without pity awash with Nora Joneses and Jane Monheits.
I'd like to hear Bryden open that voice up and take some more
chances. Let's see how far we can push it until it breaks. I know
you wanna. It's a good album as is, but there's room for a stellar
5. Day For Night
6. Jetblack Sunrise
8. Holding Out
9. White Rose
10. View Of The East River From Atlantic Avenue
11. I'm Gonna Be Strong
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