A Fantastic Change of Direction That Took in 4 Different Countries!
I am not sure if it has been just the luck of the draw; but I have had quite a few female artists to review in recent months. If it is, I should maybe consider doing the National Lottery as I seem to be striking oil with every one of them.
Splitting her time between Texas and Italy, singer/songwriter Vanessa, has taken 12 months to write, record and produce her latest album; and she can rightly be proud of ‘Modern Age;’ an album that has managed to overcome the numerous problems encountered during the pandemic.
At the same time I certainly feel this a fantastic change of direction (and a successful one) making full use of her powerful vocals.
The title track bemoans the changes in the ‘Modern Age’ where we find the need to check our mobiles phones constantly; but it was designed too, as a protest song about the move from a relatively modern baseball stadium to a brand new one for The Texas Rangers!
You live and learn.
Anyone who has bothered to read previous reviews will know I hate having to shoe-horn an artist into a genre; but with this change I feel Vanessa has entered, what I loosely refer to as ‘Indie/Country’ – the ‘Country’ bit could equally cover the fact they recorded this over 4 countries after being caught up in the COVID situation.
‘Crazymaker’ handles a toxic relationship with a strong guitar rock, that dovetails perfectly with Vanessa’s smooth yet powerful vocals; and is the first single from the album with a video shot during their Italy stay.
‘Hood Ornament’ sees her ‘all alone on the stage but she is labelled as the hood ornament’ – if performing was as easy as folks think then surely; ‘anybody could do it;’ while on ‘The Band Played On’ she decides they have to ‘play on’ in the hope the relationship will ‘turn the corner.’
It would seem that using the shipping analogy it was going to sink!!
Probably my favourite track.
There is a jangly guitar feel immediately on ‘Never Really Gone’, a cracking poppy song delivered in a very catchy manner. Definitely a track to demonstrate her move ( on this album) into softer and more modern songs/arrangements that suit her new style perfectly well.
On ‘The Weight Of This’ Vanessa delivers another great vocal, a song that could easily have been dropped into albums from any of the current crop of female superstars; while ‘Yes’ is a slow and silky offering to deal with the constant need to say ‘yes’ in situations that probably warranted a different approach.
Her anger comes through as we approach the end with the backing hitting the perfect level to stress the ‘lack of courage to put her real feelings to the test’. Vanessa Peters certainly does not like being treated as a ‘chick singer’!
Considering the trials and tribulations the band encountered at a very difficult time for all of us; and (especially) bands trying to produce an album I feel they should all be proud of their final product.
In many ways this is a set that I would happily pay to see delivered in front of a live audience (remember music gigs? Apparently they are making a comeback!)
The final track ‘Still Got Time’ sees the band stressing that there is always the time to lose your inhibitions and to take control of your own situation.
Something they have managed themselves very well in the production of this album.
Did my run of smashing albums from the female fraternity continue?
Great vocals, great songs, great band – what more could you want?
Review courtesy Bill ‘Two Jabs’ Redhead.
Released April 23rd 2021
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