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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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Breathe In CD Cover
Image © Mercury Records Ltd. 2004

What You're Made Of Image © Mercury Records Ltd. 2004

Lucie Image © Mercury Records Ltd. 2004


(22 October 2004) Lucie Silvas first came to our intention in 1997, when, as a teenager, she sang backing vocals on Judie Tzuke's 1997 Under the Angels tour. She then commenced a stop-start solo career that never really took off despite considerable record company interest. Until October 2004 that is, when the full marketing might of Mercury records catapulted her into the UK charts with her new single "What You're Made of" (Mercury Records (UK) 9867463, 2004) and album Breathe in (Mercury Records (UK) 9867025, 2004).

Lucie is being presented very much as the sophisticated singer-songwriter, emphasising her stunning looks and piano playing. Think of a white, British Alicia Keys you pretty much have it. Certainly she has the beauty and voice to justify the effort put in by her record company. Though possessing the vocal range and mobility of Christina Aguilera, she not over use her voice, allowing the songs to breathe without too much vocal showing-off when inappropriate.

She is also an excellent and varied songwriter, and has gathering some remarkable talent around her to assist with this process. The songs move with ease between gospel, soul, lush ballads, catchy pop and soft rock with the aid of producer Mike Peden, Judie Tzuke, guitarist Graham Kearns (also a current member of Judie's band) and keyboard player Peter Gordeno (also a past Tzuke collaborator), amongst others. This cast of talented writers and performers have worked with Lucie to hone the songs into a classy and engaging set. An orchestra is used frequently and to good effect, and the London Community Gospel Choir make two excellent contributions.

The album opens with the disciplined, acoustic guitar-led, catchy pop of "Don't Look Back," before the orchestra makes its first appearance on the dramatic ballad "The Game is One," the sort of song chosen as a Bond theme, which gives Lucie a chance to cut lose vocally. "Last Man Standing" is a piece of familiar pop / soul with genuine chart potential, while "Forget me not" is a gentle, shimmering piano ballad.After the stillness of the proceeding song, the up-tempo soft rock of the delightful title track provides a welcome contrast, before a wonderful orchestra and solo cello introduction leads into the soaring ballad "Nothing Else Matters".

"Without You" is a cool slice of pop / soul, reminiscent of Judie Tzuke at her most laid back (though, surprisingly, she was not involved in its writing), with some lovely solo guitar from Kearns. Lucie's elder sister Mia (yet again, a part of the Judie Tzuke band) assists on backing vocals throughout, and is featured on this track. "What Your Made of" is the hit single, another dramatic ballad, followed by the excellent pop / rock of "Twisting the Chain" which makes inventive use of the orchestra. "No Defence" is a bluesy, guitar and piano led ballad, while "The Longer we're apart" builds from a quiet acoustic beginning into a huge gospel tour de force.

The album feels like it should end there, but there are two further tracks: the mediocre pop of "Like you love me" and the delightful, gentle soul of album closer "Seven Veils". The EP includes two further songs not included on the album: the ballad "Love you this much" and the guitar pop of "Build Your World Around", which is reminiscent of The Corrs. It also includes the video for the single, which is designed to enhance off Lucie's singer-songwriter credentials--and to show off how beautiful she is.

Breathe In is unlikely to stun the music world with its originality or lyrical insight, but as Britain's answer to the pop divas currently dominating the US charts, Lucie seems set for a glittering career. Furthermore, this is an album awash with consistently excellent, chart worthy songs that seem likely to keep CD buyers, in the UK at least, busy for months.--Stephen Lambe in Cheltenham, England

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