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| 13 June 2020 | Reply

Label: OK!Good Records / Insomnia Music Records

Release Date: June 5, 2020

Rating: 93%

Reviewed by: Todd “Toddstar” Jolicoeur

I normally skip a lot of artists that “made it” on a reality show – no reason other than I normally don’t like those shows.  Every once in a while an artist crosses my email or desk that I don’t know much about and I am given a chance to listen to their music blindly and dig it.  The recent full-length release from Janet Devlin is one such release.  Title track and disc opener “Confessional” has different textures and sounds that are not normally in my rotation, but I really like the variation.  The intro points in one direction, but the minute Janet hits the verse, we are handed a different vibe that merges well in the mix on this diverse track.  “So Cold” unfolds with a beautiful piano interlude that soon swirls with Devlin’s vocal.  The build through the verse into the chorus is more pronounced thanks to the emotional delivery of the lyric.  This holds true through most of the disc – Janet knows how to use her voice as a powerful instrument amidst the other musical components of the tracks.  “Cinema Screen” is a lighter track that brings to mind a theatre sound, as if this track were ripped from a Broadway musical… until the chorus kicks in and we are returned to the sound that has been woven into the fabric of the other material on the disc.  The lyric is very descriptive and evokes different images and emotions.  “Honest Men” is one of the most powerful and thought provoking tracks on the disc.  There is something about this song that speaks to me as I listen through time and time again.  The pain in her heart and thoughts are carried perfectly from within her to the musical composition and makes this song and disc that much stronger.  “Big Wide World” is different from most tracks on the disc, with a pop sensibility twisted into the sound and feel of the track.  This uptempo track gets your foot tapping; I catch myself “dancing” in my chair each time this track comes on.  The layered vocals on the chorus give this song a wall of sound feel.  “Sweet Sacred Friend” ties together the sound and vibe of many of the tracks on the disc while adding new textures.  The harmony vocals on the intro are a nice tough that help build into the verse and chorus.  Devlin’s vocal carries this song beautifully from open to close.

“Saint of the Sinners” takes me back to the disc opening with a sound that leans back into her Irish heritage without sounding like a rehashed track.  The tribal percussion on the chorus provides a strong foundation for the track.  The vocals nail lyric perfectly and help bring the urgency of the message to the forefront of the track.  “Speak” weaves together different sounds and emotions, thanks to the beautiful delivery from Devlin’s vocal offering on the track.  The vocal is strong without being over sung or over produced.  The range demonstrated as Janet bridges verse and chorus and back again shows her strength as an artist.  “Love Song” has an interesting tempo and vibe from open to close, but the song fits the mold of the disc as a whole.  The lyric is fun and speaks to each of us in one way or another.  The musical component of the track keeps the song grounded, especially when Janet seems to want to soar vocally at the chorus.  “Away With the Fairies” is one of the first tracks I heard from the collection that made me pay attention to the disc.  The vocal has emotions wrapped inside of them that grab your attention and keep you listening.  The steady cadence is solid and helps provide a great foundation for the song.  “Holy Water” has a cadence that ebbs and flows through the verse and chorus, but the song builds to and has a killer groove on the chorus that takes this song to the next level.  There is a quality in the vocal that helps elevate the song among the other tracks on the disc.  The use of traditional Irish sound in the background perfectly carries the track and supports the vocal.  This track was built for a live audience… I hope I get to see and hear this one performed live some day.  Disc closer “Better Now” takes us out on a melancholy cloud that allows us to let Devlin’s vocals lull us into a comfortable place so we can enjoy her duet with the piano while taking in the lyrics.  This track is another example of how well Janet uses her voice and emotional delivery to tell her stories her way – without apology or regret – as a true confession to anyone that takes the time to absorb this disc in its entirety.

Tracklisting: Confessional – So Cold – Saint of the Sinners – Cinema Screen – Speak – Honest Men – Love Song – Big Wide World – Away With the Fairies – Sweet Sacred Friend – Holy Water – Better Now






Category: CD Reviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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