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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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Unravel CD Cover
Image © Amelia's Dream 2005

Amelia and Harold Image © Amelia's Dream 2005

(11 December 2005) Since 1992 Amelia's Dream has been brewing their own brand of subtle rock music in the underground. Their debut album, Here in the Rage, turned a few heads (including those at the CMJ charts) but it was their follow up Love Tattoo that found a wealth of critical praise. The band has just released their most potent work to date, a live album titled Unravel. Live at the Magic Shop (2005).

Unravel manages to capture the sound the band has struggled to get across on a recording for the last decade. The intimate atmosphere of the album, immediately draws you in. Even if you end up not caring for Amelia's Dream's music, the initial sound the album exudes will certainly peak your curiosity.

The highlights here are abundant. The title track opens the album, setting the tone instantly with its driving beat and powerful vocal. Amelia's voice has seemed very "hit and miss" on the band's two studio offerings, however she establishes a much more authentic sound with her voice on Unravel and the key is this song. The album twists and turns through a series of up tempo acoustic based rock songs and introspective quieter songs. Another highlight comes in the form of "Blue Sky." While you may not find this song immediately striking, it is one often returned to on repeated listen. It's soft and gentle invitation is simply too much to resist.

The patriotic "Light a Candle" has a classic rock feel to it musically but lyrically it stands as a voice of defiance (likely inspired by the events of 9/11). The piano lays the groundwork for the song but, again, it's Amelia's vocal work that completes the songs and convinces the listener to come back. The "Save Me" bonus track is a brilliant piece of acoustic pop rock as well and is undoubtedly a highlight, a rare achievement for a bonus track.

Why did you choose The Magic Shop to record the album?

Amelia: The magic shop has a great vibe and they have a recording console that was actually used for many years on the BBC that is very warm and full sounding.

"Blue Sky" is an amazing song.

It was inspired by an actor that I am fascinated by visually A whole little movie of my own went off in my head and I put the movie in my head down on paper and melody.

Unravel Live really sounds like you have come into your own. It has a very comfortable sound. How do you feel you/the band have changed since the release of Love Tattoo?

Dramatically. We are not so concerned with the suits anymore. Love Tattoo set records for Amelia's Dream's licensing which is great, and financially wonderful, but the business is so obsessed with young little girls. I think I just surrendered to the fact that we have to support this financially for a long time (since I am not 16) and so I now write for me, not for the possibility of getting a “suit” to believe in me and help with the bills.

You have been around for awhile now. At this point in your evolution where do you feel you fit into the vast sea of modern music?

I hope authentic and inspiring. Other than that your guess is as good as mine!

As a songwriter which is more important to you, what the listener takes from your songs or what you intend when you write it?

What the listener takes away from it without question.

Do you have any plans for a new studio album?

Well I do need to finish this painting series, so that is my next priority. Honestly, we are always working on new material (we can't help ourselves). Our general plan is to throw stuff up on Itunes even before a new album is recorded. As long as Harold and I are around I am sure there will be another record.

Thanks so much for your time. Do you have any parting thoughts for our readers?

We appreciate your support and hope that you all share your unique voice with the world. Always trust your gut. Thanks for listening!

Amelia's Dream comes one step closer to capturing the hearts of the masses with Unravel. There are few moments here that feel like filler material and that certainly contributes to its strength. The less electric approach is a better fit for Amelia's voice and as a result many of the songs have a more inspired feel to them, which in turn offers a more clear understanding and connection to the music and lyrics. Those looking for some strong acoustic rock with a singer/songwriter should not miss out on Unravel.--Mark Fisher in West Virginia

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