On Disc: A Fine Frenzy

Album: One Cell in the Sea

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

One Cell in the Sea by A Fine Frenzy

A Fine Frenzy
One Cell in the Sea
EMI Music Canada

2 stars

One Cell in the Sea marks the debut of Alison Sudol, a singer-songwriter who performs under the stage name A Fine Frenzy. Sudol has a soft, contemporary sound similar to Sarah McLachlan and Tori Amos, but captures neither the lyrical power nor the driving melodies of either artist.

Sudol’s voice is enchanting, but lacks strength. What’s worse, she uses it to sing lyrics that are often abstract and sound like amateur poetry.

One Cell shows lyrical potential, but gives the feeling Sudol was unsuccessfully trying to be a virtuoso. Complicated wording is one thing, but lines like “melancholy phantoms eye our skins / poisoned apples falling with the wind / hear the sigh of the trees” give the sense that only she knows what she’s talking about, leaving the listener out in the cold.

Sudol’s lyrics would be more appealing if they were not sung over top of empty, uninspired music. Most of the music you’ll hear 50 times a day on any soft rock radio station " it’s nothing more than dull ballads.

The most striking flaw of One Cell is few of the tracks build up to anything, making them seem incomplete. However, as a selftaught pianist, Sudol’s best moments are on the tracks “Almost Lover” and “Near To You” when she gives up the trite melodies for her own piano work.

These tracks show she has the ability to create superior music, but needs to express her originality in composition as well as lyrics.

Ultimately, only diehard fans of the soft rock singer/songwriter will get a kick out of this one.

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