Shona Laing

New on Earth

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Four years after her debut release South, Shona Laing jumped from TVT Records to Epic and offered up her follow-up New On Earth. Working with producer Pete Smith, Laing has revamped her sound considerably with good results. While South was rooted in a techno-pop sound, New On Earth has a more mature, adult-oriented rock sound. The keyboard-based melodies are far more organic than on her previous effort and the lyrics, while still addressing social issues, are even more veiled as on "Hey," "Freeze Frame," and "Larger Than Life." The most obvious issue-oriented lyric is that of "White Water" and the track, dealing with the destruction of the environment, is one of the album's strongest as Laing gives a passionate vocal over a punchy, harmonica-driven backdrop. Other standout cuts include "Walk Away (42nd Street)," a pretty, shimmering, keyboard ballad and "Fear Of Falling," which relates fear to a plane crash scenario over an elastic melody. Laing has a husky, at times masculine, voice that delivers her above-average lyrics with an earnestness that is compelling. When you add in solid melodies, New On Earth is a rewarding listen for fans of singer/songwriters.

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