Stacie Rose

Shadow & Splendor

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Three years after her sparkling debut, This Is Mine, Stacie Rose brings an elaborate package to the table that is even more expressive, providing a glimpse of artistic evolution that is most inviting. Thirteen of the fourteen tracks were composed by the singer with the cover of U2's "New Year's Day" the sole outside essay, one now colored by Rose's own special stamp. Taking music that has been overplayed and breathing something new and different into it is never an easy task, the sentiment of "New Year's Day" finding a place alongside strong material like "Unbreakable", which, if covered by anyone in the women's music movement, has the potential to be an anthem. The baker's dozen plus one collection is chock full of hooks and Rose's clever take on life. This is a composer who, in any other time, would obliterate radio with her charm and fresh approach to pop. Along with the close to fifty minutes of music there is also a video of the very k.d. Lang-ish opening tune, "Consider Me", as well as a six minute multi-media track interview with the artist. Veteran Robert L. Smith, who produced, recorded and mixed This Is Mine in 2002, is back - this time co-producing with Stacie. Shadow & Splendor has the feel of a concept album, something different offered track to track while avoiding cliche and keeping the listener's interest. The music here is parallel toTracy Bonham's intricacies, of that world, but not necessarily in it. The mantra chorus of "Knew You" follows the effervescent Indian quasi-psychedelic "Guru", novel musical passages that display sharp creativity. It's a gift Stacie Rose utilizes to full effect. Where many other singer/songwriters also have the insight, sometimes they pull back or get lazy. She avoids the self-indulgence trap by exhibiting a solid work ethic throughout this recording. Everything is well thought out without losing the entertainment factor - think the seriousness of Steely Dan while keeping the pop sensibilities intact. An artful juggling act that takes another twist with CD closer "Back To Life", a lovely melody that recalls (or updates) "Girl From Ipanema" and the gentle Bachman Turner Overdrive near-hit, "Looking Out For #1". A strong effort overflowing with potential.

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