WHEN WE WERE SPIES
Fire Escape Recording
All right, this one had me scratching my head a bit as far as what to write about it, or for that matter just how to rate it.
Ann Vriend has a voice which immediately has me thinking pop. It has that higher pitched tone, which is generally the kind which you have to be in the mood for. On some days she could be just a bit irritating.
To get a better feeling for her voice, consider for a moment that Vriend's spot on Myspace tags her music as melodramatic popular song/lyrical/emotronic, so this work is something of an aquired taste.
Vriend is best on original material such as How the Lights and Hallowe'en, both of which have definite electronic undertones.
That said, this Canadian artist also dares to push the packet a bit with at least one unusual choice on the CD, a rendition of Neil Young's familiar Rockin' in the Free World. For me it's a choice that while daring, doesn't quite work simply because it is such a familiar song that Vriend's voice doesn't quite capture it the way we expect the song to sound. While not quite on target with this one, I do hope Vriend keeps exploring the unusual, because that is important when one takes on a cover.
This is a CD which I'll admit isn't likely going to be a regular on my CD player, but it is memorable. Vriend does have a clear, and strong voice, and she maneuvers through the material in a generally skillful fashion. Some, who like the vocals higher up the scale, will no doubt love this one. But it's not quite my 'cup of tea'.
I will add that Vriend does write most of the 11 songs here, and lyrically she captures a mood well, so that too bodes well for her future.
Check her out for yourself at www.annvriend.com
-- CALVIN DANIELS
-- Review first appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper June 18, 2008 - Yorkton, SK. Canada