Posted on: July 4, 2007 Posted by: James McQuiston Comments: 0

Sasha & Shawna – Siren / 2007 Blue Note / 12 Tracks / / /

I feel so un-educated when I get an album like “Siren”. For example, I was not familiar with Sasha Lazard, Shawna Stone, or Grammy-award winning producer Peter Asher. This album is a blend of classic opera tracks along with the duo’s reinterpretation of popular songs. These songs include Radiohead’s “Fade Out”, which opens the disc, along with Kansas’ “Dust In The Wind” and James Taylor’s “Close Your Eyes”.

While “Fade Out” is a typical Radiohead sound, the strong vocal presence in the track brings the resulting composition much more close to an Evanescence track. I know that I will be called a heretic by all of the Radiohead fans, but I feel that this track has a much more emotional and full sound than did the original, making this version the one I’d prefer. Regardless, this track is perfect as an opener, as it allows for individuals that may be intimidated by a track like “Per Te / For You” to gradually come into that track. The track is not hard to approach after given the emotional gravity of “Fade Out”; in fact, the track feels like it would be good in a Spanish-language version of a Disney movie. The only thing that seems odd about this track is that the instrumentation feels a little dated, even as the vocals are timeless. “I Know Itr’s Real” is a track that continues the slower sound of “Per Te/For You”, but the vocals of this duet just are not enough to further this track. Luckily for “Siren”, the inclusion of “Dust In The Wind” acts as a re-start.

The solid vocal work on this track re-energizes listeners, as does the instrumentation that largely stays true to the original. What I would like to see in Sasha and Shawna is something that represents a split of the two styles on “Siren”. Have a disc of their re-interpretations of rock classics, and have something a little more formal, such as their work on “Stabat Mater IXXI” and “O Del Mio Dolce Ardor”. Doing that would allow fans of either style just to listen to songs in that style, instead of bouncing back and forth between these two disparate styles throughout the disc. The disc suffers due to this split in focus, and while the singers cannot be faulted in the slightest for this, the album is not as enjoyable as it could be. Here’s to hoping that Blue Note goes the direction I suggest.

Top Tracks: Fade Out, Dust In The Wind

Rating: 5.2/10

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