Sylvia Tosun

Jump In

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In some cases, an album's slick, glossy, shiny production is designed to camouflage some type of weakness -- perhaps limited vocal skills, perhaps mediocre or inadequate material. The attempt at camouflaging won't necessarily fool listeners -- weaknesses are still weaknesses -- but that doesn't prevent some pedestrian, unremarkable artists from trying to bury their mediocrity behind a wall of high-tech production. On the other hand, there are some albums in which a stylish production merely adds some icing to what was already a flavorful cake to begin with; Jump In is such an album. There is no question that producer Miklos Malek's attractive production makes this 2005 release sound very good. But ultimately, the things that make Jump In well worth owning are Sylvia Tosun's skillful, expressive vocals and the solid material she has to work with. The New York City resident is a melodic, ethereal, introspective artist who operates in the adult alternative realm; stylistically, valid comparisons range from Sarah McLachlan, Tori Amos, and Loreena McKennitt to Vanessa Carlton. But Tosun, despite some Amos-isms, is not as quirky or as abstract; she's more consistently accessible. And while Malek's lavish production is a definite plus, Tosun isn't trying to use it as a hiding place -- Jump In would have been a creative success even if she had decided to record these songs (all of which she co-wrote) with nothing but an acoustic guitar. Tosun's work isn't groundbreaking; no one who has spent a lot of time listening to McLachlan, Amos, or McKennitt will believe that she is pointing pop/rock in any new directions. Regardless, Tosun makes a solid, memorable contribution to adult alternative on Jump In.

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