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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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Luna Rossa - Secrets & Lies - CD Cover
click on artwork for band's website
\r\nimage © Luna Rossa 2015

.: more Luna Rossa :.
Sleeping Pills and Lullabies* (2013)

.: more from Luna Rossa artists :.
with Panic Room:
Incarnate (2014)
Skin* (2012)
Satellite (2010)
Visionary Position* (2008)
with Karnataka:
Strange Behaviour* (2004)
Delicate Flame Of Desire* (2003)
Anne Marie Helder solo:
The Contact (2004)
with Tiger Dragon:
Life Stories (2001)

* includes exclusive interviews

Jonathan Edwards and Ann-Marie Helder are Luna Rossa
click image for band's FaceBook
Jonathan Edwards | Ann-Marie Helder
image © Luna Russa 2015


(27 February 2015) Secrets and Lies (Firefly Music (UK) FFMCD00, 2014) is the second album by Luna Rossa following their well received debut, Sleeping Pills and Lullabies. Luna Rossa is a duet of Jonathan Edwards and Anne-Marie Helder from the UK band Panic Room. Both were also previously in an earlier incarnation of Karnataka, and clearly this long association they have with each other has paid dividends as the new disc is undoubtedly the finest thing either of them have been involved in, showing great maturity in the writing, performance and arrangements. It also happens to be one of the best produced, mixed and mastered albums Iive come across in recent times with wonderful clarity and separation. All this combines to make it one of the finest releases of 2014.

The album consists of eleven songs, nine of which are co-written and arranged by Jonathan and Anne-Marie and there are two covers, Todd Rundgren's "Tiny Demons" and the Randy Newman song "I've Been Wrong Before."

The two principles are more than ably supported by Andy Coughlan whose superb double bass playing weaves a unifying thread through the whole album. Sarah Dean contributes celtic harp and Tim Hamill who recorded and mixed the album at his Sonic One Studios also lends some fine guitar to the project. A couple of tracks also feature The Luna Rossa Quartet (Artem Kolov and Rebecca Brown on violins; Ronan Mac Manus on viola, and Leah Evans on cello).

Listeners who come to this from their Panic Room recordings will probably be surprised at just how acoustic these recordings are, but the truth is this gives much more of an opportunity for the talents of both Jonathan and Anne-Marie to shine -- certainly Anne-Marie has never sounded better -- she's completely in control of her voice which is very much to the fore in the mix, just as it should be. Jonathan's work is quite exceptional throughout showing his ability in a number of areas that perhaps he doesn't always have the opportunity to display in the full electric band setting, the foremost of these being his extraordinary appreciation of space and just how important it is to the music -- and the string arrangements which are beautifully conceived.

The songwriting is of a consistently fine standard. "Fly Away" is a particular highlight opening with interweaving piano and harp overlaid with Anne-Marie's gorgeous vocal. Possibly the only mis-step is "Happy Little Song" not because there's anything wrong with it per se, but it does break the feel, mood and flow of the album. The closer, "No Chords Left" is a master class in the use of space -- it's just Jonathan's Satie-esque piano, Anne Marie's voice and the subtlest of double bass -- it needs nothing more.

Secrets and Lies is a fine, fine album and by some distance the best thing that these two gifted musicians have been involved in their long and illustrious musical career.--Jamie Field in Hereford, UK and Russ Elliot on assignment in St Thomas, USVI

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