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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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Sirènes CD Cover
Image © Spectacle Entertainment 2008

The Sirènes Artists:
Blue Foundation
Shelley Harland
Viia (feat Jody Quine)
Bridin Brennan
Sleepthief (feat Kirsty Hawkshaw)
Kristy Thirsk
Sophie Barker
Carla Werner
Tara MacLean
Zoë Johnston
Sylvia Tosun
Lisbeth Scott
Miriam Stockley


(16 March 2009) Sirènes: The Beauty of the Female Voice (Spectacle Entertainment (USA), SPC 20002, 2008) is an album not to be missed. Powerful yet sultry female singers take you on a journey of ecstasy, longing, unquieted dreams, and hope. A carefully chosen compilation of some of the worlds' best female artists created by Tom O'Keefe, Justin Elswick and Russ Elliot. Originally conceived to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Musical Discoveries, the album includes tracks from female artists reviewed here. Empowering and moving, Sirènes will put you in another state of consciousness, another dimension of knowing and understanding that music has a power that can consume you and make you feel again.

Starting with a haunting old 50s record sound Blue Foundation's "Bonfires" teases you with a slow sounding lament that layers with cello and harmonies that instantly throw you into a driving beat that becomes larger and larger taking you into a whirlwind of beautiful harmonies and vocals by Kristine Stubbe. Shelley Harland's "Fly" is an electronic ambient delight. This vocalist has such an emotive voice it quite gave me shivers! I recognized her voice from the band Delerium and I was thrilled to see she was part of this collection of siren singers. My favorite lyrics were "Take me where I want to fly over mountains and over sky. I can take all your love with me and wait to die". Mixing industrial and ambient sounds really gave it quite an edge, and the harmonies blending in the chorus gave the song a beautiful touch.

Echostream's "One Last Cigarette" was a real surprise. It starts out very slow and sad and full of ghosts of the past but the chorus is so full of hope and beauty. The songstress Ryoko originally from Japan sings with such a level of deepness and despair it completely undid me. The lyrics are very sad and beautiful. The fourth track Viia's "Star" is reminiscent of a strange dream. Almost as though you're at a Cirque Du Soleil concert but you're the only one in the audience. Many unusual ambient layers create mystery and color. Strong and gutsy Singer/Song writer Jody Quine's voice soars eloquently. This song should be on a movie soundtrack.

Bridin Brennan is a very unique artist. In her song "It's To Late" there's so many different melodies mixed into this song you never get restless. Ambient, bluesy, folksy pop, always something new; there's simply not a way to place one specific genre on this song. Fans of Dido, and Everything but the Girl will enjoy this tasty treat. A younger sister of Enya and Moya Brennan, Irish songbird Bridin Brennan has certainly created her very own style. My favorite song of all is Sleepthief's "Skimming Stones". This gorgeous song was created by soprano vocalist Kirsty Hawkshaw and Justin Elswick exclusively for this album. Kirsty's voice is one of my cherished favorites. I've heard her on Delerium as well as other compilations. This song has a new age celtic undertone with an ambient pop sound. Deep drums and delicate bells give this song a sense of journeying into a deep forest moving towards the light that shines through the trees trying to reach the horizon. Very uplifting and saturated with soul. The ending is like a taste of heaven.

Kristy Thirsk's "Out there" is a tenacious driven and wildly fun song about searching for true love. One of my favorite Delerium artists, Kristy has a sound purely her own. Her vocal range is stunning as she reaches notes as high as Mariah Carey. Stormy, sensational, with a splash of attitude, "Out There" gives you a burst of energy.Sophie Barker's "Secret" has a soft folk sound with a mysteriously deep and moving voice and sexy accent. The violin and strumming guitar creates a bittersweet mood. My favorite lyrics were "Don't treat me like a fool. I'm more intelligent than you. You may have partially succeeded in breaking me in two, but at least I have a heart and mind and a soul". She sings from her heart with fullness with each word sung slow and sweet like honey.

Carla Werner's warm and steady voice delivers "Driftwood" with such sweet precision and depth. Her lyrics "Time imitates life. Eyes synchronized adjusting. Floating in and out with the tide like driftwood. Weightless & drowning. Out of air I come to the surface. Swallow myself and you a breath of purpose. I can't drown not when I'm living. I can't drown not when I'm swimming" are so beautifully sung. A treasure and a pearl, Íse's "2 Worlds" is four minutes long, yet it seems so short playing, she leaves me wanting more. It was beautiful fairy like and enchanting. The middle breaks out with driven beats and powerful belting vocals. Such a great song, I didn't want it to end.

Tara MacLean's ballad "Here and Now" is a blend of country and folk. I have been a fan of her since her 1996 album Silence. Her voice is sweet and full like a ripe plum. This song gave the album a nice balance of reflection and expressive raw emotion. Zoë Johnston's "No Longer Mine" makes me think of a hot day lying on the beach and soaking up the sun. Its folksy pop melody can't help but drive away the blues. Even though it's a song about lost love, it still gives you a sense of hope. Her warm rich voice sings past the grieving stage of losing someone and guides you towards the future of hope and moving on. Sylvia Tosun's "Runaway" is an uplifting and artistic song full of ancient world instruments and strongly driven modern pop music with a spiritual undertone. The chorus was exquisite and playful yet intense with Sylvia's profound depth charged voice.

Lisbeth Scott's "Smokehouse" is chilling, full of sadness and grace. I love this singer. With a back catalog including her albums Climb and State of Grace (I, II, III), she's most known for her works on Passion of the Christ, Shrek, and Sinbad. My impression of this haunting song is about being left behind and waiting for someone who isn't coming, yet still you wait, spirit whispering to you to keep going. Aeone's "Indira" has world and mystical soundscapes, chanting vocals, and new age texture. She has been placed on major films and television including one of my favorite TNT mini series Mists of Avalon. Her brevity of spirit glides in her song "Indira" and is cinematic perfection for this album.

The last song and a stunning ending to this delicious dish of fabulous females, Miriam Stockley ends the album with her poignant song Fantasy. Her intellectual voice is so full of beauty and soul it brings tears to your eyes. Known for her work with Adiemus, this ballades will put you in another realm all together. Close your eyes with this song and you will be carried away. It was clearly the best choice to conclude the album.

For an album to be interesting and enticing it must have depth, creativity, flow, movement and change. This album contains it all with 16 soulful singers, every track unique, a beautiful package design, and in depth info on each artist with their websites listed for more exploration. Don't miss this opportunity to be moved, to be changed, to be nurtured by fresh new music.

Not only does this album bring awareness and recognition to some amazing emerging artists, but it is also supports two wonderful charities. A portion of the financial proceeds from the album will benefit Joe DiMaggio Children's Hopsital and Childhelp USA. If you like musical diversity, superior polished vocals, and breathtaking melodies, then Sirènes was created specifically for you.--Gabrielle Angelique in Augusta, Georgia

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