Fragma

Embrace

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    4
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The standard-issue vocal trance of Fragma is well sung and well constructed, but the group's debut, Embrace, runs out of ideas way too fast. Lyrics that make the Vengaboys sound like Dylan are the big problem. "Embrace Me" is a fair single, and the almost quirky "Why" holds some promise before vocalist Damae comes in cooing the uninspired lyrics. Ramon Zenker (possibly the best name in trance) knows how to layer the music, but his limited attention to hooks with any depth points more toward a career scoring video games. This breathy-diva-with-a-slight-sly-sexuality style has diminishing returns in 2003, and Traci Lords beat Fragma to the punch way back in 1995 with her 1000 Fires album. It's uplifting enough, and Damae and Zenker have definite talent and energy. Even if music aimed at the dancefloor isn't always the most deep, it at least needs something to set it apart. Embrace requires you to supply the verve and panache. [The U.S. version differs from the German by changing the running order, dropping a few songs, and adding the videos for "Embrace Me" and "Time and Time Again."]

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