Friday, June 25, 2010
Sarah McLachlan's "Laws Of Illusions" fits the rare case where I was far more pleased by an album than I had anticipated. While most mainstream artists release albums where half the album (or more) is poorly written, I would say that the "Laws of Illusion" is a clear exception to that trend: nearly the entire album is consistently strong. An additional appealing theme of this particular album is that there's a clear variety of musical influences and styles being incorporated by McLachlan & Co. The album starts out with a rock inspired tune (though its certainly no "Raining Blood") that segues nicely into a sweet tune with almost alt. country undertones. From there on out everything from ethereal to jazzy to waltzy to melancholy to spacey vibes are weaved into the songwriting in an effortless and pleasing way.
Most songs, save for the first track on the album, are particularly slow and calm and are strongly geared toward highlighting McLachlan's unique vocals. Unfortunately, I've never been too big of McLachlan's vocal style, in particular, I feel like her voice doesn't mesh harmoniously with the music. While McLachlan's voice seems aimed toward becoming almost musical instrument-like, I found it to be particularly extreme and distracting at times. The music itself is almost gratingly refined (then again I'm the type of person who loves the terribleness of lo-fi), but neither of these issues will probably be even remotely noticeable or problematic for most listeners. Personally, I found that the most disappointing part of this album was that I couldn't find it at all lyrically captivating. While one track, "Out of Tune", contains some interesting political undertones, the majority of the album is based on the same conventions as most modern songwriting, heartbreak, love, relationships and sorrow. While these topics have been a keystone of singer-songwriter tunes, its always nice to see established artists breaking rank with convention and become a little more daring (think Kid A).
While there are some predictable pitfalls of this album, overall I was quite pleased with the album as a whole. For the most part, the music is both radio friendly, well written (weird combination, I know) and consistently listenable, quite a rare accomplishment.
**I was provided with a "Laws Of Illusion" promotional CD courtesy of One2One Network for review purposes only and allowed to post my thoughts at my discretion. I did not receive any monetary compensation for this post. All opinions expressed here are mine.**