Su Lyn

Clay Angels

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Her voice is seductive and sometimes sultry, but it can be disconcerting when a record label known for adventurous cutting-edge music embraces a less engaging style than listeners have grown accustomed to expect. This album was recorded over a period of more than six years, and the talented Su Lyn does it all: she arranged all the tunes with bassist/producer Simon H. Fell, wrote the lyrics, sings the lyrics, and performs on keyboards. Lyn's vision is one that incorporates a folk-pop aesthetic with a light jazzy touch. She prefers slow to medium tempos, an occasionally slightly overdubbed or altered voice, and a pulse-like backing from bass and drums. The keyboards lay multiple layers of pleasant, atmospheric fluff. Some of her arrangements fall firmly in the category of smooth jazz; others, such as "Let's Get in Our Car," offer something a bit (but not much) more. Often her voice is virtually whispered over syrupy synthesizer sounds, with the drums and bass contributing gentle backing. Several of the tracks, such as "Snow Falling," are clearly oriented toward a pop audience, with silky-smooth spoken lines chanted against a veil of sweet, though alluring, pulsing rhythms. The lengthy opener, "I Feel Alchemy," and the following "Thunder" set the pace with Lyn's heavy-handed, somewhat husky voice reciting her light lyrics. The electronically slightly altered voice on "Virtual Reality" touches on territory explored by Laurie Anderson. For the most part, though, this is a nice, pleasant, and unassuming recording -- delivered with a humorless demeanor -- that does little to distinguish itself and is less interesting than her earlier Lines of Desire. Those attracted to the radical sounds for which Simon Fell's productions are known will be disappointed by the results, though perhaps Lyn will attract new listeners to the label. Just be sure not to expect too much.

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