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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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Happily Ever After CD Cover
Image © Nettwerk Productions 1996

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Dead and Gone to Heaven
Happily Ever After
Semantic Spaces

(06 July 2002) The third release by Rose Chronicles--featuring vocalist Kristy Thirsk and guitarist Richard Maranda--entitled Happily Ever After (Nettwerk Productions (Canada) 0 6700 30108 2 5, 1996) is comprised of thirteen tracks. The album is their second full length recording and came on the heels of their 1994 Shiver. The new album is said to much more bold and abstract than the former, but the sound is that of a more mature band.

Although Judd Cochrane (bass) and Steve van der Woerd (drums, percussion) departed from the band before this album was released, they do perform on the recording. Contrary to the album's title, Kristy and Richard parted ways following the release of Happily Ever After in 1996.

Happily Ever After is the Rose Chronicles final, and rowdiest album. Released in 1996,the Rose Chronicles third offering is a more intensely aggresive and experimental collectionof songs. Producers Mike Plotnikoff, Kevin Hamilton, and Greg Reely all contributed their talentsto the ironically named Happily Ever After.

Tracks like the Tori Amos-in-a-fierce-mood-inspired "Vicious Thorn," however demonstrate Rose Chronicles' undiminished ability to write catchy hooks that sound amazingly well against a backdrop of raging electric guitars and eerie instrumental sonics. More restrained numbers such as the Twin Peaks-ish "Blood Red" and lamenting "Torn"work equally well, displaying Kristy's ability to forcibly grab a song by the proverbial horns and to mould it to her vocal expressions.

Other favorites include "Acquiesce," a shoe-gazing styled number that drips melancholy and thelanguid Robin Guthrie flavored "Heaven Tide." "Spill," showcases Kirsty at her siren-singingbest as she roams from high soprano peaks to angst-filled valleys.

Lyrically and musically, Happily Ever After is a dark and sometimes manic listening experience--yet despite this, the album captures moments of purity and brightness. It is this duality that,finally, is most fascinating--and Rose Chronicles is very much deserving of the praise thathas been bestowed upon the band.--Justin Elswick

Happily Ever After and the band's debut EP Dead and Gone to Heaven remain generally available while Shiver has been deleted. Read further reviews, listen to soundbites and order the band's available products from amazon.comhere. Those interested in hearing Kristy Thrisk's vocal work prior to Delerium will find this album worth further exploration. It will grow on you with repeated plays and is a must listen!

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