Shona Laing

Shona Laing

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Singer/songwriter Shona Laing bounced to her third label in as many releases for her 1994 self-titled effort, this time landing on Tristar following lackluster sales for her previous album on Epic. She also continued to alter her sound. Although the emphasis is still on thoughtful, lyrical adult pop/rock, Laing has opted for a more stripped down backdrop, which gives the songs a more intimate feel. It is also the other extreme from her debut South, where the busy nature of the music was a bit too much. Instead, the sparse instrumentation here is a bit too little. Laing is a better than average writer, but not quite good enough to rely on her words sustaining interest in light numbers like "Heat And Smoke" or "The Man With The Wild Name." She fares better on "Rome," a thinly veiled warning about where civilization is headed, the punchy "Kick Back," and the layered keyboards on "Hard World." "American Friends" is an odd cut. Answering machine messages are played over a shimmering, lullaby-like melody. "Hard And Fast" is probably the best thing here with the music at its punchiest and Laing's vocals at their most fiery. A fairly ordinary record from an artist that has shown glimpses of being capable of much more.

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