Ann Armstrong

Think About the Rain

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Singer/songwriter Ann Armstrong's Think About the Rain is an unfortunately flawed effort that should've held a firmer focus on her crystalline voice. On the opening cut, "Stars Go Out," Armstrong's layered voice could be compared to the lush overdubs of k.d. lang or Mary Ford -- although not quite as acrobatic as either -- but instead of focusing on these vocal chops, the album suffers from chorused-out electric guitar that permeates many of the songs as the loudest component while the absurd, almost comedic growl of Steve Hughes' sterile backup vocals and the poorly chosen faux-string keyboard patches further bury Armstrong's talents. For half of the album, Armstrong and her band run through a set of covers ranging from a rather lifeless reading of Neil Young's "Heart of Gold" to Mance Lipscomb's "Goin' Down Slow," but the most interesting material is that which Armstrong has penned. It's a shame her songs unavoidably take a back seat to the poor production, because she has no doubt come up with some nice melodies. The result is similar to the feeling one might get trying to read a newspaper printed at half its normal font size -- it's clear that the information is there, but it's too much trouble to enjoy it.

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