The early 21st century has seen a wave of female artists that seem to have been influenced by Tori Amos, but have given Amos' piano-heavy approach a much more apparent pop spin. Case in point, Brooke Fraser, and her 2008 U.S. debut, Albertine. Already quite popular in her homeland of New Zealand (where her 2003 debut, What to Do with Daylight, has spawned several hits and awards), Fraser's sound is quite similar to U.S. pop artists of the American Idol era. No doubt Fraser certainly possesses a heck of a voice (as evidenced by such tracks as "Deciphering Me"), and can also cook up tunes that should have no problem crossing over to the upper reaches of the U.S. pop charts (the slightly Norah Jones-ish "Lover, Where is Your Fire"). However, as with the majority of pop/rock acts of the modern era, there's nothing all that musically groundbreaking that would make Albertine stick out from the rest of the pack. That said, as her first domestic release, Albertine does indeed show great promise, and could certainly serve as a building block towards something special. Keep your peepers peeled.
by Greg Prato