The Finishing School – Destination Girl (CD)

Hey Stevie Nicks? I think we’ve found your long-lost daughter in Sasha Bell. Starting off with an unabashed witchy-woman styling not unlike the great Nicks, “Reno” only differs from a Fleetwood Mac track by the more electronic arrangement of the instrumentation. Keeping the rich sound of the sixties and seventies alive in the following track, “Hair”, The Finishing School has a keyboard solo that would make Manfred Mann jealous. The only minor snafu comes in the over-distortion of her voice during parts of “Hair”, which only have the effect of lopping off her higher range. Adding a slight country twinge to the mic, the title track is the sequel to Jill Sobule’s “I Kissed A Girl” and Petula Clark’s “Downtown”. The polish on this disc is the equivalent of smearing transparent goo on the lens of a camera or airbrushing a model, but a model that is absolutely perfect in any way anyways.

If I put this disc on for my mother, I am sure that she would try to place who The Finishing School was in the dichotomy of popular music from ages gone by. TFS is talented enough for me to step out on that literary ledge, to be that bold. “Day Is Over” uses rich violin lines and military drum rolls to make another tight pop gem, and “Silent Space” pipes in an infectious organ line to bury itself under Sasha’s voice. Finally moving to the experimental stages in “Rowan’s Theme”, The Finishing School bends the pitches and general sounds of their synthesizers and guitars to cast the pop stylings of Sasha in an entirely new light. Destination Girl is a tightly composed disc, of which it would be almost impossible to come up with any faults on any section.

What is surprising about The Finishing School/Sasha Bell is that she has not gotten anywhere near the critical acclaim that she has deserved for years of amazing music. I started out with Ladybug Transistor’s Argyle Heir, and while it was not nearly as catchy as Destination Girl, I was able to see the seeds of talent being placed as early as that. Regardless of whether or not you can stand oldies music, I guarantee that you will be enthralled by the solid tracks of Destination Girl.

Top Tracks : Reno, Destination Girl

The Finishing School – Destination Girl / 9 Songs / 2003 The Telegraph Company / / / Reviewed 28 July 2003 / Released 23 September 2003

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