First Appeared in The Music Box, September 2005, Volume 12, #9
Written by John Metzger
On her latest album Paradise Hotel, Eliza Gilkyson mixes socio-political commentary with tales of life and love, essentially refining the formula that made her previous outing Land of Milk and Honey such a effective endeavor. At her most direct, she takes aim at the Christian conservative movement’s gross distortion of religion through the vitriolic blues of Man of God and pays tribute to the tsunami victims via Requiem’s haunting hymn. For the most part, however, she’s content simply to hint at, rather than define, the darkness that encircles her.
Indeed, like its predecessor, Paradise Hotel paints a portrait of a world that is anything but utopian in nature, and it radiates an aura of lost innocence. Yet, there’s also a glimmer of hope that lurks beneath the surface of the material — be it through the philosophical musings of World Party’s Is It Like Today, the spiritual essence of When You Walk On, or the faith that cloaks Jedidiah 1777 — though, as the title track suggests, it tends to stay just out of reach. It’s no wonder that Gilkyson sounds so weary and wounded as she delivers her melancholy ruminations. Nevertheless, her melodic sense provides the guiding light that leads her to the finish line. ˝
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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