First Appeared in The Music Box, June 2006, Volume 13, #6
Written by John Metzger
Just as it was with Brandi Carlile, itís impossible to fault Danielle Evin for her grand ambitions, even if, on her self-titled debut, she follows them down a few less than fruitful pathways. If anything, in swerving from alt-rock (Crocodile) to R&B (One Day I Will Die) to piano-driven pop (Monsters), she tries too hard to be everything to everyone, though she falters most whenever she panders for mass appeal. The overwrought balladry of Baby Be Mine, for example, quickly devolves into a grating, repetitive chorus that seems designed specifically for placement on American Idol, while the weariness of What Iíd Give never quite gains the traction that it needs to stay afloat. Part of the problem is that Evin possesses a big, bold voice with an expressive, dynamic range, and with the exception of the heartbreaking sorrow that clamors through the albumís centerpiece You Donít Live Here Anymore ó on which she proves that she has absorbed all of Jeff Buckleyís graceful moves ó she hasnít quite learned how to apply it with any semblance of consistency to her more restrained material. Consequently, itís the songs on which her soaring melodies are placed within more robust arrangements ó the chiming guitars and U2-drenched atmospherics of Love Is Criminal; the R.E.M.-imbued earthiness turned Neil Young-inspired crunchiness of Five Wishes; and the playful, Beatle-esque brush strokes with which she paints the jazz- and blues-soaked Sabineís Fire ó that fare the best. Brimming with a level of confidence that undoubtedly was bolstered by the presence of Grammy-winning producer Jack Douglas (John Lennon, The Who), Evin delivers a frequently engaging debut that, despite a few missteps, is full of possibility and promise.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2006 The Music Box