On her second full-length release, Invitation, Carrie Akre shows no sign of a sophomore slump. Split fairly evenly between slinky electro-pop and smoldering soul balladry, Akre presents herself as an artist with impressive range both in fitting her powerful vocals to the various stylistic jumps and in capturing numerous musical moods. When delving into heavy electronic touches on tracks like the elegant "Play" or the soaring "Heaven," she comes off with equal parts Madonna seductiveness and Stevie Wonder tunefulness. She's just as well suited for the more organic textures as well, with the gospel-tinged piano tune "Wishing You Well" and the stomping a cappella of "Catch My Back" finding an unexpected down-home fervor. Most impressive, Akre fits all the contemporary and traditional elements together in one generally seamless package. In short, Invitation seems to be documenting an emerging diva, which is about as far from her grunge days in Hammerbox as could be imagined. And even though she might not particularly like being labeled as such in an era where the word "diva" can elicit more than a few negative connotations, her combination of stylish production, commanding vocals, and smart songwriting clearly places her in a category far beyond the throwaway teenaged confections of contemporary pop.
AllMusic Review by Matt Fink