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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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Image © 2001\r\nBlueprint Records  

(13 April 2001) Since seeing Claire Hammill open for Renaissanceon 09 March 2001 at the London Astoria and meeting her in the dressing roomafterwards, we're pleased to review the reissue of her 1984 album Touchpaper (Blueprint Records (UK) BP306CD, 2000) as the conclusion to this Digest. Claire Hammill was recently featured in the CRS magazineWondrous Stories and she has also recently performed at HLC Rotherham.Opening for Renaissance she was accompanied by another guitarist; she playedfor a half hour.

One of the definitive female vocalists of song-based progressiverock, her album Touchpaper illustrates her expansive vocal range and sonic power. "The Moon Is A Powerful Lover" blends soaring vocalise with evocatively sung powerful lyrics reminding us of Sally French (who unfortunately disappeared after one album on SI Music). The album's titleis derived from the lyric of "Denmark" which is sung in a very experimentalKate Bush or Michelle Young (review) style. The track "2 Fools In A Storm" is much more jazz-oriented withinstrumentals dominated by saxophone.

Again we were reminded of Sally French's work in the upbeattrack "First Night In New York." Symphonic instrumentals provide a lovelytexture under the lead and backing vocal layers. Crisp percussion and upbeat rock arrangements complimentClaire's vocal lead in the very 1980s-sounding "Come Along Brave Lads." "Jump" and "Gonna Be The One" are pop-oriented tunes with lush keyboard arrangementsrhythmic bass and Renaissance Time-Line style vocal lines. The variety of vocal textures worksquite nicely. "In The Palm Of My Hand" is significantly more dance club oriented than the other tracks on the album. Claire's voice soars easily and evocatively above the instrumental arrangements.

"Ultra Violet Light" is substantially more dark and moody with guitars dominating the arrangements behindClaire's punky style vocal part. "Once Is Not Enough"is an upbeat, dance club oriented track, dominatedby a funky keyboard part that concludes the album.Certainly very different from the albums reviewedabove, this Claire Hammill album is an equallycompelling female vocals album.

An extensive portion of Claire Hammill's back catalog is nowavailable on Voiceprint/Blueprint and, with the extensive range of stylesshe has recorded, should be sought out by female vocalist enthusiasts. We have plans to do an interview and retrospective review of her workat Musical Discoveries in the future. This album certainly serves as alovely introduction to the artist's work and is a very nice listen!

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