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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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Lou Cowell - I Um ... - CD Cover
Image © Akashic Records 2008

Lou Cowell
Image © Akashic Records 2008


(08 November 2008) Must admit that when the publicist come on begins by stating that an artist is the daughter of famous television presenter Simon Cowell that our interests were immediately piqued. Not only because we were surprised that the X-Factor and American Idol producer and critic had a daughter in the biz but that we were being offerred an opportunity to hear Lou Cowell's debut album ahead of release and an exclusive interview opportunity in London.

A little further investigation revealed to us that indeed there are two Simon Cowells, Lou's father being the MBE that presents Wildlife SOS that airs both in the UK and in the USA on Animal Planet. The very fit (see photos on her website or MySpace) 30-year old singer songwiter was born Emma Louisa Cowell. Lou Cowell's debut album I Umm ... (Akashic Records (UK) 08-001, 2008) follows on the heels of her successful single "A Good Day" (Akashic Records UK) 08-001S1, 2008). The album is comprised of ten accessible tunes, sung from the heart, with modest accompaniment. Our promotional copy says little about the supporting artists. At present Lou Cowell is the only artist signed to the Akashic label, founded by her father.

Likened to early day Tori Amos, Kate Bush and Joni Mitchell, Lou Cowell's debut album has already received huge praise from internet radio stations and is now expected to catapult her into the mainstraim with it's instantly catchy melodies, contemporary pop vibes and emotional lyrics of both self-confidence and insecurity in today's society that listeners everywhere will relate to. The stipped back and heartfelt "Still Around" opens the album.

About "Just Like Me," the perfect introductory single for this singer songwriter who is becoming known for speaking the thoughts every female thinks but is too afraid to admit, Lou says, "All you need to do to find out who I am is ask yourself who you are." A bit tough for a male reviewer to relate to but female readers may get it. Lou actually wrote the song nine years ago.

Lou Cowell worked with some of the music industry's most world renowned producers, including Massive Attack's Neil Davidge and Joni Mitchell's Phill Brown. Lou corageously decided to make her album in the company of the one who truly knows her best: her piano. Raised amid the chaos of a wildlife sanctuary, Lou has grown up with something of an unconventional nature; si singer songwriter, a published author and boxer, this petite blonde songstress is an enigma of lyrica bliss.

"A Good Day" originally released by French "Pop Idol" sensation Emmanuel Moire, fits well on this album and the singer's comfort singing with a traditional British accesnt. As a result of the song's success, Lou was recently signed to Chrysalis Publishing. Smoky Carrot PR's Chris Foster handles Lou's publicity. The sensitive ballads "Hold Down The Sun," "Obvious," "I Believe" and "Lonely Little Hurricane" like the album's opener are very evocatively delivered.

Lou's album effectively blends pop accessibility with sensitive singer songwriter tunes. The lightly arranged "Just Like Me" is delightful. The sensual singing of the well arranged "Nobody's Rhyme" immediately draws the listener into Lou's spell. "Could We Just Kiss?" is gently arranged with a smoky and bluesy vocal line that perfectly delivers the song's lyrical message. We especially enjoyed the power and depth of the instrumental build as the song moves towards its crescendo.

The album concludes with Lou's final heartfelt ballad entitled "Winter." Actually at 9:30 into the track, a final bonus piano backed four-minute bonus track plays. Perhaps the most sensitively recorded (listen for the pedals) with vocals almost whispered number of the album, the tracks provides a final and indepth peek into Lou's emotional psyche.

While we may have preferred more variety in the collection, principally with the addition of a few more robustly arranged upbeat tracks, this is a great initial outing. This record primarily of heartfelt sensitive ballads, Lou Cowell is clearly emerging onto the scene and will draw significant international attention with the release of her debut album.

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