Melissa Giges – Far Beyond the Pacific (CD)

The piano lines that start off “Far Beyond the Pacific” are reminiscent of those put out by Tori Amos during the mid to late nineties. The vocals are not so easy to categorize, and add much of the independence and nuance to Giges’ compositions. The inclusion of other instruments during “Find Some Time” give the track a more Shania Twain meets Carrie Underwood type of pop-country sound. Note, however, that this is not the case that Giges only flirts with one style.

Rather, there seems to be a swirling, intangible quality to the set of influences that govern over the entirety of the compositions on “Far Beyond the Pacific”. “Some Kind of Trouble” brings Giges into the realm of music that individuals like Fiona Apple would play, albeit with the styles of music updated slightly (since we are in 2007 instead of 1997). The minor amount of repetition used during “Caught” provides a nice framework for the vocals to lay over. There is not much in the way of extra instrumentation during the first segment of the track, but individuals will not feel as if they are being ignored, especially not when Giges’ vocals finally get a chance to kick in.

The tracks are short enough that even having 15 cuts on the album will not make individuals think that the disc is going on too long; Giges’ talent is in weaving narrative and harmony together to the degree that allows one to succeed without necessarily forcing the other to fail. “Stand By” is a track that breaks free of any of the conceptions that individuals might have created in their minds about Giges; there is much more of a classical, fifties-sixties type of lounge style to Giges’ voice, even if the instrumentation is amorphous and approaches a number of different styles throughout the track’s runtime. The slower, more sultry sound of “Carry You” provides yet another directions for fans to go; the Spartan sound of the instrumentation during this track is exactly what is needed to let Giges’ vocals shine as brightly as they ever have.

Without anything needing to be fixed on this disc, Giges’ “Far Beyond The Pacific” is an album that should be in the collection of anyone that likes Tori, Ani, Dar, or Fiona. There is further appeal and reach present on this album, but individuals that like that style of music will be the ones that can appreciate what Giges is doing the most.

Top Tracks: Miscommunication, Surrender

Rating: 6.6/10

Melissa Giges – Far Beyond the Pacific / 2006 Self / 15 Tracks / http://www.melissagiges.com / Reviewed 14 May 2007

[JMcQ]

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