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Olivia Broadfield
Eyes Wide Open
Vagrant Records
www.oliviabroadfield.com


Singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Olivia Broadfield creates a personalized anthology on Eyes Wide Open. Her songs each tell a story as she strings them along and narrates each track using threads of universal themes. Produced by Broadfield and her collaborator and fellow musician Josh Crocker, Eyes Wide Open rings out with soft rock dancetracks like Erin McCarley tethered to melodic hooks with fiery boosters and silky raptures relatable to The Pierces.

Broadfield's lyrics have a bittersweet taste to them, like in "Don't Cry" when she expresses, "Right now I'm the walking wounded / Mind set on getting out alive / How I wish I could just keep turning back time / Forgive me if I cannot try harder / You make it seem like everything I do means nothing at all." She keeps a positive outlook as her narrations travel in and out of periods of dismay and confusion, which tap into universal feelings that everyone can relate to in their own way. Many of her songs have a general pop-rock molding that is familiar to the fittings of Mandy Moore and Courtney Jaye, but Broadfield tweaks her tunes with embellishments and gently laced finery like orchestral overtones and ethereally bowed synth effects which distinguish her songs from other songstresses. Her tracks are finessed to Mandy Moore's pleasant temperament, but the attitude is all Olivia Broadfield.

The restive strokes of "Hang On" bode well with Broadfield's soothing register, and morph into a balmy rustling in "Lost In You." A few tracks have a springtime freshness like "Holding Onto You" and "The Weight," but the nursery rhyme scheme in the rhythmic patterns of "Don't Cry" has a cheery sprint that tows audiences right along with its merriment. The ethereal souffle of winged synths spanning across the title track have shimmery echoes which convert to an upbeat, techno-pop dancetrack in "Crashing Down" that is made for clubs. The soft rock trimmings have a breezy feel in the spacey synths, which make the tracks feel airy and pliable in Broadfield's touch.

Olivia Broadfield is the Olivia Newton-John of today's generation. Her songs are seamed in swirling riffs and plush synths that mortar soft rock dancetracks with silky raptures and ethereal lifts wrapped snugly around Broadfield's vocals. Eyes Wide Open is one of those pleasant sounding albums that will send you right out of a dark mood and into a sunny perspective on life.

-Susan Frances

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