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While this website has become known for its in-depth album and concert reviews, the digest contains concise comments on new music our audience has either recommended or might enjoy. Click on album covers or label names for links to further information. Click on the title to view the article.

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A Time Of Change
Image © 2000 Universal Music (Ireland)

A Time Of Change
A Time Of Change (Single)
Image © 2000 Universal Music (Ireland)

(26 November 2000) The new album by The Vards is entitled A Time Of Change (Universal Music (Ireland), 2000). An earlier album entitled Heavenly (Coumbia/Sony (UK) 68837, 1999-2000) featured all three sisters (Wendy, Lisa, Cathy) and and included seventeen well-known classically oriented vocal tracks. The latest album features performances by Wendy and Lisa. Cathy's solo album should be reviewed here soon. The Vards' album appears to be available exclusively in Ireland at this time, but we expect it to be released in other territories as interest in the music grows.

Like Heavenly, the album offers a selection of tunes originally performed by other artists. The Vards provide wonderful interpretations of each one and breathe new life into former contemporary classics. The album opens with their interpretation of The Beatles' "In My Life" blending some traditional Irish instrumentation with lovely vocal harmonies. The sensitive French ballad with English interpreation by Tim Rice "The Second Time" is as rich vocally as it is instrumentally. "Song Of Bernadette" features one of The Vards singing the solo lead supported by piano and light orchestral instrumentation and the other joining during the chorus in a lovely harmony part. Traditional Irish instrumentation accompanies a sensitively sung lead vocal and lovely harmonies in the Vards interpretation of "Fields Of Gold."

The album's stand-out title track, "A Time Of Change," blends modern Irish arrangements with Abba-esque harmonies and accessibility. The vocal harmonies and string arrangements are superb. It is easy to understand why the single featuring the track backed with "The Water Is Wide" did very well commercially in Ireland recently. The original version of the track by Laura Powers resides on the artist's debut album. Her followup will be reviewed here soon. The Vards' duet version of "Nella Fantasia" is a brilliant contrast to the solo version recorded by Sarah Brightman on Eden. Vocally lush, instrumentals are perfectly subdued.

The sensitivity and depth of The Vards' talent is perfectly illustrated in their interpretation of Alan Parsons' classic "Old And Wise"; strings and guitar during the instrumental bridge are especially notable. "Back When We Were Beautiful" is a sensually sung solo ballad performed very much in an Andrea Corr style. Light instrumentation supports a lovely mid-register lead vocal part. Vocal harmonies dominate the lovely interpretation of "The Water Is Wide" performed a capella while contemporary arrangements underscore them in the lovely track "Wonder Child." The album closes with The Vards' collaboration with with Shane Filan in the upbeat country-Irish crossover version of the theme from the motion picture Babe entitled "If I Had Words." Layers of male vocals perfectly compliment The Vards' harmonies.

The Vards' latest album A Time Of Change is comprised of lovely interpreation of familiar tracks that illustrates the sisters' range and vocal prowess. Certain to appeal female vocal enthusiasts, this one is clearly worth a trans-Atlantic journey and is a must listen!

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