Sunday, May 29, 2011

Collective Enchantment

In the words, the vocals, the production of LB Collective’s latest effort Waiting for Enchantment, there lies a bit of a step back in time when female singer-songwriters reigned supreme. It wasn’t too long ago that the likes of Paula Cole, Sarah McLachlan, Fiona Apple, and many others ruled the charts with their mix of talents in front of the mic and behind the scenes. It was around the time of Britney Spear’s debut that those singers began to be not-so-en-vogue with mainstream radio.

Now, it seems that Laura Benjamin and company have decided to bring that sound back, with a little facelift for modern times. Along with confessional, introspective lyrics, organic beats and intimate vocals, the thing that puts this group apart from other acts are Laura’s unique vocals.

Waiting for Enchantment doesn’t wait long to kick things off. Album opener “Something Different” shows the singer pondering on the subject of love over an easy-breezy soulful beat that let’s the listener that whatever the outcome of love may be, it’s gonna be alright.

It feels as if Natalie Merchant was in the studio during the recording of “I Got Nothin.’” That isn’t a bad thing, necessarily, but in a way kind of makes the listener want to listen to a record by the 10,000 Maniacs.

“Waiting,” a track that is LB Collective at their most rock/pop, actually would not be such a bad idea for single consideration. With a strong melodic hook and sing-a-long vocals, the track may be not the best on the album, but is definitely the most radio friendly.

One of the most flavored song of the album is “A Reason,” which grinds to a blues/rock/country groove. Benjamin seems her most confident on the track, and with reason, it, more than any other recording she’s done, allows the singer to get loose.

“Tabula Rasa” has a dark, haunting feeling that evokes the feelings of the vocalist (and her listeners) down a road of jazz-touched rock/pop road that sounds like a mix of Paula Cole and Shawn Colvin. The artist slows things down a bit for the somber “Losing You,” a piano-ballad that shows Benjamin at her most intimate.

Short, with only six songs, Waiting for Enchantment does tend to make the listener want more from the group, never a bad thing! It will be interesting to see what else Laura Benjamin and her musical family will come up next, but until then, fans will be waiting.

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