Paula Frazer – Leave The Sad Things Behind (CD)

With a sound that starts off “Leave The Sad Things Behind” that really mixes Juice Newton, Petula Clark and Stevie Nicks, Paula Frazer makes a timeless piece of pop that is only made better by the emotive backdrop that surrounds eir. The really nice thing about the dynamic on “Leave The Sad Things Behind” is that Frazer knows exactly when to step back from the microphone and allow the instrumentation to take center stage; the very Spanish sound of “Watercolor Lines” is allowed to impress instrumentally before the Cranberries-esque vocals of Frazer come onto the scene.

Another nice thing about this album is that the piano plays a major role without sounding trite or inserted into the dynamic willy-nilly; the music depends on the contribution of the piano in much the same way that a Rocket Summer, Rufus Wainwright or Billy Joel composition depends on those sweet sounds. What results during “Leave The Sad Things Behind” is a nuanced style of composition that honestly has more roots in classical pop than the alternative acts that Frazer is linked with (Oranger). Since Frazer’s music on the disc continually refer back to some of the most popular acts of previous periods (Corrs, Cranberries, Suzanne Vega, Fleetwood Mac), there is no lack of possible fans of this music. If given the proper press push, there is no doubt in my mind that this could break into the Billboard stratosphere. “Long Ago” is the pinnacle for tracks on “Leave The Sad Things Behind”, as the martial drum beats of the track provide a stark contrast to the non-lyrical uses of Frazer’s voice during the track. The warbly tenor of Frazer’s voice during “Leave the Sad Things Behind”, coupled with a guitar that almost moves into slide territory, gives the track a country twinge that will elicit emotions from even the most stony demeanor. Bringing back the Spanish style of horns during “No Other”, Frazer shows exactly how much ey is in control of the overall tempo and sound of the disc.

The difference in tone between the two tracks is nothing less than complete, yet both “Leave the Sad Things Behind” and “No Other” are nothing less than siblings from one wizened parent (Frazer). One of the freshest albums of 2005, and yet the ties to previous trends in music are essentially all this disc is; Frazer makes this album memorable by smoothing the scars of this patchwork quilt and putting forth an infectious voice and arrangement throughout the disc.

Top Tracks: No Other, Long Ago

Rating: 6.4/10

Paula Frazer – Leave The Sad Things Behind / 2005 Birdman / 10 Tracks / http://www.paulafrazer.com / http://www.thebirdmangroup.com / Reviewed 19 October 2005

[JMcQ]

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