Chantal Chamandy – Love Needs You (CD)

Chantal starts off “Love Needs You” in an interesting way; “Zindegi” really has an operatic feel to it that moves into a jazz influenced type of pop track. This bizarre mesh of styles will call listeners’ attention quickly, and even if it was only done for the shock value (this is not the case, as the track is very well-crafted and catchy), individuals are locked in for at least a few tracks. By the time that “You Want Me“ starts, individuals have to see that Chantal is trying to tap the Shakira market, with rich instrumentation that elicits memories of Latin America (and even a little bit of the Middle East) .

Continuing the Middle Eastern influence with “More”, there seems to be a concerted effort by Chantal to take a little Tori Amos influence and add a controlled brand of anarchy to eir tracks. The gambit fworks nicely for “More”, as it is a sea change from the prim and proper opening of the disc. “Crazy” tries to use a choir to increase the intensity of the disc, but Chantal’s decision here just rings a little too staged. With all of the shouts being at the exact same volume, any spontaneity achieved by this choir is lost to orthodoxy. Coming back full circle to the Disney brand of opera for “Feels Like Love”, there is no doubt in any listeners mind that Chantal can sing.

Now, the doubt firmly resides in whether Chantal can arrange a track that tries to actually be spontaneous instead of just giving lip service to it. Saying that, there are tracks that individuals will sing along to, such as the aforementioned “Feels Like Love”. For those individuals that want a little more encompassing experience, “Love Needs You” may not be the adventurous journey that they need. “Music of the Moon” actually is a nice change for Chantal in that the arrangements scream Cat Stevens; eir nod to “Peace Train” is enough of a difference on this disc to keep individuals listening, even after the anemic “Take A Chance”. The rest of “Love Needs You” goes by without incident, and what becomes clear is that while Chantal has a decent album on eir hands, that here still needs to be some serious work done before Chantal can play with the bigger market singers. Keep listening in, as there are hints of brilliance that will hopefully be more present in the next few Chantal Chamandy albums.

Top Tracks: Free, Music of the Moon

Rating: 4.0/10

Chantal Chamandy – Love Needs You / 2005 Nine Muse / 14 Tracks / http://www.chantalchamandy.com / http://www.ninemuse.com / Reviewed 08 January 2006

[JMcQ]

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