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Current concise reviews of the albums by adult alternative, contemporary, and crossover artists. Images of album artwork and links to both internet-based resources are always included. Click on the title to view the article.

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Diane Birch - Speak A Little Louder - CD Cover Artwork
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.: more Diane Birch :.
Diane Birch Interview (2013)
Bible Belt (2009)

Diane Birch
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  (15 October 2013) The second full length album from New York's Diane Birch entitled Speak A Little Louder (S-Curve Records (USA) 7315110338, 2013) was released on October 15, coinciding exactly with her live performance at The Sinclair in Cambridge, MA. Our review of both the live performance and album follow below. Read more about Diane Birch in our interview.

Diane's first album Bible Belt (review) drew widespread acclaim when released in 2009. In 2010, she released a 7-track EP of covers entitled The Velveteen Age (with The Phenomenal Handclap Band) that may have been noticed only by her diehard fans. Diane's new album continues to demonstrate the artist's diversity and musical development.

Live. Singer/songwriter Diane Birch, performed the evening of October 15th at The Sinclair in Cambridge, MA to a an enthusiastic, sold-out crowd. Her rich, soulful tones permeated the room as she sang selections from her newest album, Speak a Little Louder. Her piano, keyboards and percussion driven sound, along with guitar and bass, created a steadfast and dynamic atmosphere that was extremely well received. Diane announced she was drinking champagne that night since her new album was just released. The whole set was a celebration of the band's sophisticated melodies and powerful sound.

Since she was fronting for the main act, Kodaline, Diane chose songs of high intensity, getting the crowd excited by the dramatic, extremely powerful vocals. She has a knack of hooking you in to her soulful rock while she skillfully plays keyboard accompaniment to maximize her transcendent effect on the listener. A seasoned performer, she interacted with the crowd very well.

Diane opened her set with "Pretty in Pain" and moved right into "Adelaide." Her performance continued with "Love & War" and "All the Love." She has no problem in showcasing her fabulous voice, skillfully delivered musical arrangements and a wonderful stage presence. The crowd absolutely came alive with "Staring at You" and the title track of her new album "Speak a Little Louder."

A well-tuned instrument that flawlessly goes from one song into the next, Diane's vocals could have been set a bit more into forefront of the mix, but the sound crew did not adequately pick up on that issue during this performance.

Even so, the audience couldn't help but join in the hypnotic rhythms, moving to the beat, and thoroughly enjoying the memorable music. The gorgeous "Tell Me Tomorrow" and "Superstars" drew great acclaim from the audience. She closed with a remarkable rendition of the standout track from her new album, "Lighthouse." It was an amazing show and incredible performance.--Audrey and Russ Elliot in Boston, MA

Speak A Little Louder. Diane Birch's new album was released both in a standard (11-track) and deluxe (16-track) editions. The deluxe edition includes the all-new tracks "Hold On A Little Longer," "Staring at You," "Adelaide," "Truer Than Blue" and "It Played On" rather than remixes or radio edits that some labels use to pump up standard editions.

The new album took a few spins before we fully appreciated it. While Diane's voice is powerfully delivered across the tracks, the album is oriented differently than Bible Belt and we had to get used to it. An extremely distinct allusion to Stevie Nicks comes across in many of the songs from Diane's power and primary range, but Diane can go much higher, and she does in the song "Superstars," for example.

Standout tracks include the stunning delivery of the dynamic rocking track "Lighthouse"--our editorial staff's favorite--the percussive "Frozen Over," and the richly arranged "Hold On A Little Longer." Everyone is certain to love the rhythmic title track which is laced with layered echoey and more crystalline vocals.

Listen to the rocking texture of "Staring At You," bluesy tones of "Adelaide" and the pop sensibility of the Fleetwood Mac-styled "Love & War" and "Tell Me Tomorrow." "Pretty in Pain" is a modern-day disco track. Diane and her co-producer Homer Steinweiss have crafted a masterpiece that has not only demonstrated their virtuosity but has also produced an incredible listen for an album with a running time of over an hour.

The Speak A Little Louder standard edition CD is published in a monochromatic cardboard gatefold with a removable quad-fold booklet full of gorgeous artist photos and her own notes. Diane Birch has grown significantly as an artist since Bible Belt. Listen to her new album to hear it for yourself!

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