Edie Carey's extraordinary voice is reason enough to recommend
her most recent album, Another Kind Of Fire. Carey is an
uncommonly versatile vocalist, capable of the affecting sincerity
of the Indigo Girls and the serene beauty of Sarah McLachlan.
Her virtuosity, however, carries with it the hope that her records
will be as remarkable as her singing. At its best, Another
Kind Of Fire exceeds those expectations. As a whole, however,
the professionalism and safe production snuff out much of what
makes Carey's voice and songs so irresistible.
The Boston-based singer-songwriter is already a veteran of the
music scene, with three previous full-lengths and a live album
to her credit. Another Kind Of Fire, at its heart, is a
set of acoustic folk songs. Carey also blends pop, rock, and country
into a style that would be perfect for an intimate live performance.
The introduction to the atmospheric "Hollywood Ending,"
however, dispels any notion that this is a loose, spontaneous
affair. The beautifully-written song manages to succeed in spite
of the studio sheen, but other tracks don't fare as well. On the
plodding "One Shot Deal," the dour arrangement steals
the vibrancy and energy in Carey's voice. "Bonfire"
and "Without A Fight" are an improvement, but the ballads
find Carey in a similar position. The album's most rewarding moments,
the moving ballad "The Night" and the intimate "Save
You Now," play to Carey's strengths, featuring more restrained,
acoustic arrangements. The up-tempo "My Heart" and the
subdued "What Love Looks Like" are also excellent.
Carey's lyrics center on familiar themes of love, loss, and relationships,
but she approaches the subjects with subtlety and compassion.
Still, the sincerity in Carey's lyrics can't keep her from sounding
out of place amidst the hazy production on much of Another
Kind Of Fire. Her stunning voice is best appreciated on its
own, so it is truly perplexing when she decides to hide it behind
Wurlitzer piano and synth pads. What's most frustrating is that
Carey's tasteful acoustic guitar work, which lends a weight and
an organic quality to the album's best songs, is pushed to the
background on the more overproduced tracks.
Edie Carey has all of the tools necessary to make timeless music.
Still, despite the majesty of Carey's voice and the quality of
her songs, Another Kind Of Fire is more a suggestion of
her potential than a masterpiece in itself. It may only be a qualified
success, but those seeking solace in songs will find the best
moments on Another Kind Of Fire rewarding.
1. Hollywood Ending
2. The Night
5. Another Kind Of Fire
6. One Shot Deal
7. Save You Now
8. My Heart
9. Without A Fight
10. What Love Looks Like
11. Hollywood Ending (Reprise)
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