Though Holly Brook claims that her biggest influence is Joni Mitchell, to anyone listening to her debut album, Like Blood Like Honey, the clearest comparison is instead to fellow Mitchell devotee Sarah McLachlan. In fact, the record could practically read as a link between Surfacing and Afterglow. The opener, "Giving It Up for You" is reminiscent of "Fallen," "Curious" sounds like "Angel," and everything else seems to correspond somehow to one of McLachlan's sentimentally charged songs. But Brook is also a talented and affective songwriter in her own right, and so cuts like "Wanted," "Saturdays," and the aforementioned "Giving It Up for You" are able to convey true emotion over thoughtful melodies that, while they do follow basic adult radio rock rules, are still interesting and catchy. Unfortunately she, like McLachlan, falls into the trap of excessively dramatic lyrics that speak of heartache and self-discovery over heavy piano chords, variations of the same poignant plea again and again. Nothing on Like Blood Like Honey is bad; Brook has decent musical ideas to which she stays true and consistent throughout the album's entirety, but the repetition makes most of it pretty forgettable, each emotional song after emotional song blending into one sad piano ballad. It's almost as if Brook isn't quite sure enough of herself yet to delve outside of her comfortably overly sensitive state. She finds solace and strength in being depressed and honest ("What I wouldn't give just to get some rest/So I can remember how to live again," she mournfully admits in "What I Wouldn't Give"), but still, the security that she creates for herself can only exist based on other people's acknowledgement of it. "I will be wanted, I will not fall from grace" (a theme McLachlan touches upon often) Brook sings, but it's not so much of an affirmation as an assertion that her own feelings of worth are dependent upon other people's definition of who she is. Perhaps if she is able to distance herself from these sentiments, for her next album she will able to break away from McLachlan's mold and find something that's a little more originally hers.
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AllMusic Review by Marisa Brown