Dreamy vocals embellish Char Butler’s evocative pop/rock

Reviewed by Carson James

Char Butler/”My Life”-“Tonight” [promo single]

Taken from her album Secrets of the Heart, the songs “My Life (I Love You)” and “Tonight” glide by with dreamy textures and somewhat ethereal vocals. With its sublime piano and subtle electronica touches, “My Life (I Love You)” is probably too gorgeous and evocative for commercial radio. Do they still play songs as sweetly arranged and fetchingly sung as this? I’m reminded of the Cranberries without the post-grunge guitars and Irish accents. “Tonight” is reportedly a success on Adult Contemporary radio stations, and I can easily see why. The singing is reminiscent of Paula Cole’s without trying to be (it just is), and the arrangements are more down-to-Earth, a warm bed of acoustic guitars as Butler’s soft voice drifts to the clouds. Daydream the afternoon away.

http://www.charbutler.com

Published in: on March 30, 2008 at 8:19 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

Joy Adler’s ‘Postcards’ crackles with passion

Reviewed by Brooke Curtis

Joy Adler/Postcards

There’s certainly no shortage of female singer/songwriters out there, and the number has certainly grown since the mammoth success of Sheryl Crow and Norah Jones. Alas, there are many women who arrive with a catchy guitar riff and a poetic pen but have no voice, either one that is stylistically distinct or technically impressive. Joy Adler is among the few with all of those qualities intact.

Although the songs on Postcards are easily accessible, they seem more personal to me than radio-ready attempts to achieve commercial success. You instantly get the feeling that Adler recorded this CD mainly to express herself and not just to acquire a quick pop hit, which has sadly become harder without a million-dollar record label behind you. Avoiding the bland slickness of Adult Contemporary radio, Adler looks to Americana, blues, and jazz for inspiration. Even the Cult’s Goth-metal landmark “She Sells Sanctuary” is given a bluesy makeover, quite unlike anything you’d hear on alternative-rock stations either during the mid-’80s or today.

Of Adler’s original material, many of them sparkle, some way more than others. I’m partial to the pretty piano compositions like “Our Rapture” and “Your Love Is Everything,” wherein Adler is reminiscent of Tori Amos but with definitely more soul. It’s the passion that Adler equips these tunes with that make them crackle, give them added intimacy.

http://joyadler.com