Chantal Kreviazuk

Colour Moving and Still

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It seems reasonably clear that Chantal Kreviazuk was signed to C2 Records to be the label's answer to Atlantic's Tori Amos, Capitol's Meredith Brooks, Imago's Paula Cole, Arista's Sarah McLachlan, and Maverick's Alanis Morissette, a quirky female singer-songwriter with the potential to go platinum. Like McLachlan and Morissette, she's from Canada; like Amos and Cole, she plays piano; like all of them, she tends to write self-involved songs that are sometimes difficult to decipher. But it's not Kreviazuk's fault that she happens to fit into a current record company formula. In fact, though you could mistake her for any of the above mentioned artists now and then, she more closely resembles two earlier models, one of whom sold quite a few records in her day, and the other of whom is another Canadian: Her voice occasionally recalls that of Melanie; and her music, with its mixture of ponderous and pop passages, frequently brings to mind Jane Siberry. C2 has chosen "Before You" as the first single from Kreviazuk's second album (her first, 1997's Under These Rocks and Stones, got some kind notices but finished out of the money), and the label has picked correctly. "Before You" is the catchiest song on the record and is given the most overtly pop arrangement and production. Its title should have been "Now I Think I'll Get Through," to match its repeated hook (which sounds a little like "Ruby Tuesday"), yet it's still a good choice, and not only because it's such ear candy, but also because Kreviazuk is much better when she writes simpler, more direct songs with strong choruses. There are a few such songs on Colour Moving and Still, but there are also some ponderous, no doubt more ambitious efforts on which she passionately repeats impressionistic, not very meaningful phrases while pounding away on her piano in a manner that suggests Tori lite. At such moments, her work is self-serious and pretentious, but when she trusts her feelings and her pop instincts instead, she can be as appealing as Sarah without being as irritating as Alanis. Who knows whether there's room in the marketplace for another intelligent young woman with classical piano training who wants to be her generation's Joni Mitchell? If there is, Chantal Kreviazuk may be that woman.

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