Brandi Carlile - self-titled

Brandi Carlile
Brandi Carlile

(Columbia/Red Ink)

First Appeared in The Music Box, August 2005, Volume 12, #8

Written by John Metzger


As if new artists donít have enough pressure placed upon them by their labels, Brandi Carlile recently was named one of Rolling Stoneís "10 Artists to Watch." She now faces the unenviable task of trying to live up to exorbitant expectations. Her eponymous debut isnít going to help her cause. Itís filled with run-of-the-mill songs that boast adequate arrangements and average lyrics. In fact, if it wasnít for the way in which she applies her voice to the material, all of the attention that she has received of late wouldnít be warranted at all.

At the age of 23, Carlile has received an abundance of praise for her captivating presence on stage. Despite the utterly bland music that fills her self-titled effort, her spellbinding persona manages to save the outing from becoming a complete and total train wreck.

Not surprisingly, the worst moments the eponymous affair come when the material confines Carlile's talent within a generic sea of mediocrity. Although these weak spots largely are sprinkled in bits and pieces throughout the album, they culminate within the alt-rock aspirations of the Heart-influenced Fall Apart Again. Fortunately, however, there are plenty of other opportunities for Carlile to shine. On Someday Never Comes, for example, her tortured wails recall a cross between Jeff Buckley and Radioheadís Thome Yorke, and within the quaint, country-tinged waltz of What Can I Say, she touches upon the haunted loneliness of Patsy Cline. Indeed, itís Carlileís aching, world-weary delivery that perfectly encapsulates the distance that separates people, and whenever she allows her quivering voice to shift through the full breadth of her range, she emits an anguished cry that an old blues man certainly would admire. starstarstar


Of Further Interest...

Norah Jones - Not Too Late

Mark Pickerel - Snake in the Radio

KT Tunstall - Eye to the Telescope


Brandi Carlile is available from Barnes & Noble.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!


Copyright © 2005 The Music Box