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Lisa Bell

The Italian Project

Review by Gary Hill

What a great album this is. Lisa Bell’s voice is strong and also very versatile. The music here really runs a pretty wide gamut. Yet, it never feels contrived. It’s always quality stuff. This is an excellent album that should appeal to a very wide range of listeners. Come for the voice, stay for the music.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2013  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Bring the Love

Acoustic guitar opens this and there’s sort of a folk meets progressive rock meets blues element. When the vocals join they are very soulful and the cut seems like a cross between blues and jazz. The harder rocking elements bring some country and hard rock to the table. All in all, it’s a smoking hot rocker.

Come My Way
The opening section here is more folk-like than anything else. When it launches out to the song proper, though, there’s a lot more straightforward rock than anything else. This is a killer tune that works quite well. This is really quite a dynamic tune and even hints at progressive rock at times. While the opener was great, this might be the better track of the two. Its strengths are more subtle, though.
One Face, One Race
This is a rather unexpected pleasure after the last two tunes. It’s more of a jazz number with a bit of a Latin groove. This is sultry, smooth and exceptional tasty. It’s retro in sound and just really works well. Like “Come My Way,” it’s more subtle than “Bring the Love,” but really works. It’s arguably the most accessible of the three openers. 
A Brighter Day

This starts with a rather intricate melody. It turns out from there to a Latin styled jazz number. This is the most purely jazz tune we’ve heard so far. It really goes to show just how versatile Bell is as a singer. Everything here is classy, too, no matter the musical genre and style. There’s some tasty jazz guitar soloing on this tune, too.

Walk With Me
Bouncy and bluesy, this is fun and very folk oriented. There’s plenty of world music in the mix, too.
Love Hurts

This one is definitely a classic sounding bluesy rocker. The arrangement is dynamic and rather complex and there is some great instrumental interplay. The guitar solo is particularly tasty.

Quilt
I’m reminded a lot of The Carpenters here. The first couple verses are intricate and delicate with just acoustic guitar and voice. The choruses get more layers of sound added to the arrangement, but the general musical theme remains unchanged. There’s a nice acoustic guitar solo section in the middle of this number, too.
From the Outside Looking In
This is a sad song at the start. It’s also quite pretty. It starts in a very mellow, ballad-like sound. Other layers add more texture to it as it grows later. As it gets more lush and involved there are signs of healing in the lyrics. There are hints of hope.
The Best of Me

Countrified blues is the order of business here. It’s an energized rocker with a very classic sound. The main song structure at times reminds me of Three Dog Night’s “Joy to the World.” There’s a smoking hot countrified guitar solo on the tune. There is also some great honky tonk piano.

I Can Be Anything
Here’s another cool rocker. It’s got plenty of blues and country in the mix. The vocals are tastefully soulful.
Set It Free (The Boomba Boomba Song)

Bouncy and playful, there is a lot of world music on this number. The vocal arrangement and the hook are really the selling points to this one. After a false ending there’s a jazzy instrumental reprise of the main musical theme of this.

 
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