CHIN UP BUTTERCUP
At her best Holly McNarland reminds of Evanescence, especially on cuts such as the lead song So Cold, along with Fly and Bye, Bye Boy. That's the good news. This gal is that good.
At her worst she goes for popish fudge candy, like DaDaDa, that is really just plain bad.
There are other cuts where McNarland swerves to the pop too much, like on Mermaid, but she generally gives us enough good material to save the album as worth listening to, although you might well want to have the remote handy to skip a song or two along the way.
That's really sad too since McNarland can gives us very good music. She has written all 12 songs here, and again it's a bit hit and miss. Again picking on DaDaDa, it has a high school, bad garage band, feel from the lyrics to the singing.
At other times McNarland shows the soul of a true poet, and creates songs which are worth listening to for the words.
Since there are inconsistencies here, I had expected to find Chin Up Buttercup was a first effort, being a situation where McNarland was still finding herself musically. However, her website at www.hollymcnarland.net indicates this is her seventh recording, so I guess she just misses the mark on occasion.
If McNarland could produce every song to match Memory of a Man, and the aforementioned stronger works, this could by a eight, or nine. Then again it could slip to a four, or five if she focused on the poppier side of her material. In the end, it's a CD with some highlights, but falls short of what it could have been.
-- CALVIN DANIELS
-- Review first appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper Feb. 27, 2008 - Yorkton, SK. Canada