Having got her big break winning One Republic's "Apologize" Cover Contest on YouTube in 2008, singer-songwriter Tamar Kaprelian's 2010 debut album Sinner or a Saint is a polished and heartfelt collection of adult-alternative pop co-written by herself, One Republic's Ryan Tedder and WAX LTD producer Xandy Barry. Although one gets a sense that at 22 years old this internet sensation could have used a few years on the coffee house circuit in NYC before delivering a major label album, Kaprelian nonetheless does have a nice voice matched with a knack for delivering a hook that at least evinces the influence of her avowed Myspace idols including Billy Joel and Elton John. In truth, Kaprelian's sweetly yearning delivery and introspective piano style is more Sarah McLachlan than Carol King and while she is not yet a diva, such songs as "New Day" and "Purified" do bring to mind "Beautiful"-era Christina Aguilera. Elsewhere, Kaprelian proves she's just as smart and musically well-intentioned as her contemporaries Sara Bareilles and Brook White -- whom she is also reminiscent of -- on the classicist-pop sounding tracks "Delicate Soul" and "Should Have Known Better." Ultimately though, while there is a lot of pop promise on Sinner or a Saint, much like the question Kaprelian poses in the album's bluesy and addictive title-track, it is still a bit unclear which pop-persona fits her best.
AllMusic Review by Matt Collar
feat: Tamar Mardirossian