Sandcastles is a mixed bag. "Sunrise on the Hudson" is an enjoyable ballad, and "Tower of Guinivere" is a relaxing, though somewhat repetitive instrumental. Still, it's pretty, as is "Wounded Wing." "My Father" is a slightly sad, wistful, yet emotionally honest look at a distancing parent. It's pleasingly performed, as well, and one of the best selections on the album. The worst of the down side is "Waiting In the Wings." This is one of those annoying "I'm devoted, despite your cheating on me" type of songs. People who like Tammy Wynette's "Stand By Your Man" may take to this "my man, right or wrong" philosophy. Thumbs way down to this song. It significantly lowers the album quality, all the more so because the artist wrote it herself, along with Noel Boland. "Shadowman" isn't as bad, though it still reflects co-dependent patterns, as the artist yearns after a distancing partner. "Island Waters" has a very retro-sounding organ track, and repetitive chorus, yet it's enjoyable in a laid-back kind of way. "Family of Man," though, has some incredibly cornball lyrics. That's not typical of Avalon's style, awkwardly enough. "The lion stalks the lamb in the family of man, whoa, whoa," she sings. The song's triteness further takes away from the album's high points. In a nutshell, it's better than Phoenix Rising, but slightly worse than Shores of Avalon, which is why Shores of Avalon gets the pick. Listeners will likely wish she'd do better -- she's shown the ability, but unfortunately, she hasn't used it nearly enough.
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