Album Reviews

Lucinda Sieger – Silver Life

(Elsewhen) UK release date: 8 May 2006

This ought to be a better listen than it is. The problem with Glaswegian singer-songwriter Lucinda Sieger’s second LP is that for every silver lining, there is a cloud. Incorporating remixes from debut album Heart In The Sky, presided over by such producers as Temple of Sound and David White, Silver Life sometimes touches upon a worldly, upbeat and passionate feel. At other times, Sieger’s forgettable lyrics and the frequent jumps in musical direction leave this reviewer more than a little disheartened.

Opening track How Many Times Must It Rain starts the album as most others finish – with a tranquil, lulling quality. However this is the realm where Sieger most emerges creatively, and as a result this proves an album highlight. The warming chorus sounds like Mary Black with Youssou N’Dour‘s backing group, which pushes lines such as “I think of you all of the time” to the back of the mind.

This sound quickly transforms with Now Here We Are; a track that mixes a European folk tune with the happy-families drawl of The Be-Good Tanyas. Despite Sieger’s undeniably dulcet tones – the singer does not ensnare the listener, with sections of the song being used once too often. Title track Silver Life has a similar feel; the inspiration Sieger got from writing under moonlight clearly being shown as she sings “Moon is your horizon / freedom in the night”.

Unfortunately a quiet, understated beginning is spoilt by a chorus complete with “na na na”‘s that manages to kill off both melody and mood. Thankfully this technique is erased with Bread, a sombre, heartfelt affair that suddenly offers something musically and vocally memorable. As the last ‘new’ track of the album, this demonstrates a style that could yet bring Lucinda Sieger joy.

Hollywood is less musically memorable, more absolutely rubbish. All of a sudden the album veers off into up-beat, funky diva mode; with as much success as Stephen Gately‘s solo career. The vocals here sound weak and distant, with the most boring and most-often repeated chorus “where are you, Hollywood” sending Silver Life into a faster downward spiral than even Alton Towers could dream up.

From this point, things never truly recover, despite the return of the album’s ethnic rhythm in Adore, provided by the wonderful Temple of Sound. Sieger’s voice flows far better here, fitting in perfectly with a laid-back, fun piece of music. Vocal success continues with I Had A Dream, a soundscaped, quirky effort from Slipper. However, no amount of excellent production technique can disguise the boring simplicity of lines of such poetry as “I had a dream and you were in it”.

The album ends in an extremely flat manner with a remix of Adore, which listeners may remember from two tracks previously. Do not be fooled, the CD has not skipped backwards; this is simply a reworking so similar to track 6 that its inclusion is baffling. Then to top it all off, a Photoshop-quality video for Hollywood, which if anything makes the track sound worse. Sieger would look stunningly attractive, were it not for ridiculously bright frontal lighting upon her face throughout.

Despite the odd shining moment, this is an album with no current appeal. Sounding as if it is trying to rip off Annie Lennox 20 years too late, Silver Life could do with a re-think. In the most part, an uninspiring mish-mash.

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