Samara Lubelski

Spectacular of Passages

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Very organic and earthy sounding, Samara Lubelski has a soft, folksy pop vocal that brings to mind the velvet style of Juliana Hatfield, especially on the relaxing, hypnotic opener "Lick 'N Leap" that glides along effortlessly. Not quite haunting but still evoking fragile, angelic-like imagery, Lubelski takes great care to stick to her dreamy, lullaby strengths on Spectacular of Passages. "Sister Silver" has a tad more pop-oriented punch or bite within, but is hauntingly driven by Lubelski's hushed tone. This is revisited and is more forceful during the rather catchy "Broken Links," which resembles a Belle & Sebastian tune."Snow White Feathered Man" seems like it was recently uncovered in some '70s time vault along with unreleased tracks by the Moody Blues, with gentle touches complemented by some lush orchestral strings. It's quite majestic and never loses its charm, particularly with the care and tenderness given to the folk-meets-hippie psychedelia of "Magic Winding." The greatest asset so many of these songs share is their ability to draw you in and get you hooked without the slightest realization of what's happening. The first average number is "Road to Misfortune," which is okay but lacks the precious feeling of the opening quartet of tunes, coming off as more folksy or singer/songwriter. Although there are several quality efforts, one which stands out is the fleeting, whispered "Onion," which contains violin, guitar, and flute in all the right places. Closing out with "Quartered Field," Spectacular of Passages is like fine china -- but with no bull in sight.

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