Monday, May 12, 2008

Through These Walls

Hilary McRae’s fun and funky debut crackles with tasty old school R&B goodness. With her big, expressively soulful voice ably aided and abetted by thick, sassy rhythms, tastefully supportive guitars and keyboards, lovely backup vocals, and sweet, cool horns, McRae’s music is at once a throwback to the heyday of 70’s soul and a sterling example of enormously engaging 21st century pop.

It is, as Miss Martha Stewart might say, a good thing

The energetic “Every Day (When Will You Be Mine)” and the propulsive “Consider Me Gone” opens the disc with a powerful one-two punch that sets the bar high. The rest of the disc proves to be up to the task.

From the mid-tempo swing of “Why Can’t Now” to the bittersweet balladry of “Love Song for You”…from the self-affirming, horn-driven swagger of “Hostage” to the pop sheen of the keyboard-led “Like You Never Loved Me”, the disc continues to percolate with aplomb.

By the time McRae and the horn section…along with the backing singers…locks into an almost irresistible groove on “Better Off Alone”, I couldn’t help but feel that a star was ready (if there’s any justice in the pop world) to claim her spot high up on the charts.

And then…and then…she throws a cool curve with the jazzy phrasing of “Let’s Stop” and then follows that up with the shimmering “Only Light” and the wistful “Waiting”.

As the disc ends with jamming with the R&B stomper “Somethin’s Come Over Me” and the powerful ballad “Where Will We Be, I found myself smiling contentedly and making plans to keep this disc in heavy rotation for the foreseeable future.

Through These Walls is an enormously enjoyable collection with nary a misfire amongst its 12 tracks; Hilary McRae is certainly a keeper. Yeah, it’s definitely a good thing :-)

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Below is the cool video for "Every Day (When Will You Be Mine)"

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