Sunday, September 23, 2007

Under The Influence - Terra Naomi

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I know. You're sat there thinking not another female singer-songwriter to digest...and another one who has taken the "overnight" route to success via the Internet, this time with Say It's possible causing quite a stir late last year. Of course that would be unkind, given that she's been releasing unheralded albums independently for quite some time and that's before we've even got to question what exactly is wrong with using all the tools available to make a name for yourself.

Under The Influence may well strike some as an ironic title; one presumes that it's a reference to strong substances (Naomi not having been shy about previous dependencies) but one might also see that title and immediately come up with a list of influences the length of your arm. And indeed whilst it may not be anything we've not heard before (I'm thinking Tori Amos, Sarah McLachlan and Alanis Morrisette) that's not to say that it isn't without merit.

Naomi has a strong and inviting voice and has a knack for creating very catchy choruses the problem seems to be one of record company pressure. Like a lot of artists these days, Naomi seems a little too intent on chasing the pop single (and I'm not blaming her for that by the way) when if somebody somewhere had the gumption to let her strike out completely then we could have ended up with something very special indeed.

So in the end we've an album that is half suited to sound tracking the next American teen drama and earning airplay from Terry Wogan on Radio 2 (evident on the likes of Million Ways) and one that hints at something a little more expressive and special (such as on New Song or Flesh For Bones). Here's hoping that someone lets her concentrate on the latter next time out.

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