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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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Fragment Of A Dream CD Cover
Image © Aerial Sounds 2001  

(04 October 2001) The second album from Philadelphia-based singersongwriter Mariel is a self-produced twelve track project entitledFragment of a Dream (Aerial Sounds (USA) 1004, 2001). Mariel is one of the few independent artists who has done the almost impossible. She entered the Top 40 Adult Contemporary Chart in the radio trade, New Music Weekly July 2000 with her single, "In Between Days" from her debut CD, The Darkest Angel.

Providing vocals, acoustic guitars, keyboards and programmeing herself,Mariel has received much praise for her crystal clear, sweet, emotional voice. Her lyrics have been called beautiful, introspective, and fearless. She has been compared to classic female singers like Stevie Nicks, Annie Lennox, and Deborah Harry. Mariel’s live performances are said to be warm, endearing, and fun. On the latest album she is joined by Chris Eike (bass), Patrick Van Belle (drums), Chris Mood (electric guitars), Rob Federici (lead guitar on "All My Heart") and Lino (classical guitar, bass and programming on "Love Fades Away").

Fragment of a Dream is comprised of well-produced, catchy, ethereal pop songs. Her voice is well suited to the range of guitar-laced styles included on the recording and is consistently mixed well above the instrumental arrangements. Upbeat tracks ("Cruel Scorpio," "Say What You Mean" and "A Little Soul") generally have a strong hook and feature notable guitar solosin the bridges with Mariel's voice soaring as lead and harmonyvocal lines resume.

Mariel's sweet voice rings through in the album's softer ballads ("Love Fades Away" and "Blind Faith")soaring above the light primarily acoustic instrumental arrangements. More thickly arranged, the soft electronicallyaccompanied ballads ("Do It Again," "All My Heart," "Wish," "Limits" and "Fragments Of A Dream") are evocatively sung with stunning and lush vocal harmonies.

Accompanied by rocking electric guitar, Mariel's soaring crystalline vocals—mixed way way up where Musical Discoveries' readers like them—make "A Little Soul" one of the album's standout tracks. We were reminded immediately of 10,000 Maniacs recordings featuring Mary Ramsey in the catchy, slightly country and western-style tunes ("What I Want" and "Lost My Love").

Mariel's second album Fragments of a Dream is a wonderfulfollowup to her debut The Darkest Angel(orderhere). You can find further information, photos and soundbites at Mariel'swebsite and order the new album fromamazon.comhere. Worth a journey, the Mariel's album is a very nice listen.

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