Carrie Akre has a stunning voice, great and rich, moving freely and effortlessly around the melodies, adding nuances and a deeply personal touch to the songs. She is a great songwriter too, and her second solo album is evidence that she has developed tremendously since her days spent fronting the grunge-y Hammerbox and major label act Goodness. Her first solo album, Home, sold an impressive 8,000 copies through her own small imprint, and there's no particular reason why this one shouldn't earn her a larger audience.
Akre's music is unassuming and modest in tone, but closer inspection reveals her songs to be both introspective and bravely performed. Her arrangements are always inventive and never formulaic, with light electronica leaning on an organically pulsating sound. It may, frankly, be too professional for comfort at times. But the soulful and heartfelt voice of Akre renders most arguments meaningless, its subtle beauty lending each song an air of poignancy and profound meaning. Branching out in every imaginable direction throughout the run of the album, Akre still maintains her focus on laid-back soul pop. The expansive, gospel-flavored pop of "Wishing You Well" sounds like McCartney meeting Carole King, while "Hope" is a beautiful, folksy duet, declaring a proudly defiant independence. Best of the lot, though, is the opening "Play," where Akre somehow approaches Tori Amos' vocals over lush and lustful electronics, bringing to mind a gentler Anja Garbarek. And while one suspect that she has an even better album coming up, Akre has already crafted a lovely release with this one.
Carrie Akre: http://www.carrieakre.com