Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Notable Albums By Kate Bush And James Durbin

Bush has always marched to the beat of her own drum, and on her new album, the pace is often languorous, the mood deceptively serene. The seven lengthy tracks are full of monotonous passages and arty indulgences, but there are also moments of sensual, spooky beauty, enhanced by Jonathan Tunick's lean, haunting orchestral arrangements. If this soundtrack for a wintry evening won't win quirky Kate many converts, her admirers should find much to enjoy.

As a hard-rock singer from American Idol— never an easy sell — the two best things James Durbin has going for him are a voice capable of launching into the stratosphere and a love of melodic '80s metal. Those throwback tendencies and a compelling back story - as a child, he was diagnosed with Asperger and Tourette syndromes - help the 22-year-old come across as both tough and sympathetic on his debut. 

Much of it recalls vintage hair metal, but Durbin shows a heart-tugging, tender side on ballad May, about a widowed husband trying to raise his daughter alone.

Break the Spell doesn't break the Daughtry mold, but the band does stretch out a bit on its third album. Frontman Chris Daughtry still loves his earnest, angst-ridden rockers about relationships on the brink, but he salvages a few of those relationships here. He gently employs a rarely used falsetto range on a couple of songs, and, in another, offers a grief-wracked meditation on a child never born.

Turns out the good folks of Detroit know their music. Imagine that. A group of citizens recently petitioned to prevent this mega-successful Canadian band from performing at halftime of the Detroit Lions' Thanksgiving Day game. Alas, the show will go on anyway, but that should boost beer sales as football fans head to the concession stands to avoid the onslaught of juvenile, generic and sonically penalizing songs like these. The band's followers — and to be fair, there are millions — won't find anything to dissuade them on this self-produced seventh album.


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