Amy Macdonald

Life in a Beautiful Light

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Life in a Beautiful Light, the third studio outing from Amy Macdonald, finds the Scottish singer/songwriter applying her refreshingly unhindered brogue to a heartfelt, 12-song set that blends the stadium-baiting wail of fellow countrymen Broken Records and Frightened Rabbit with the safe, middle of the road, adult alternative pop of James Blunt and Brandi Carlile. Things get off to a grand start with the spirited "4th of July," an open-road-ready, horn-laden, four-chord love letter to a weekend fling that's equal parts Springsteen and Tunstall, with a little bit of the Proclaimers tossed in for good measure. Elsewhere, "Slow It Down," Life in a Beautiful Light's first tick in the vocal affectation department, and the U2-cribbed "Across the Nile," a political war cry concerning the Arab Spring uprising, are certainly rousing, but feel a bit calculated. In fact, outside of the aforementioned opener and the lush, string-heavy title cut, it all feels a little bit calculated. Macdonald is so beholden to lyrical and melodic clich├ęs, that it can sometimes feel like she's using a template. She's got talent to spare, but Life in a Beautiful Light, at its essence, is the sound of an artist looking for her own voice amidst the deafening roar of her influences.

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