The 2003 album by Lori Hawk shows a significant development from her 1994 debut Where Is The Balance?. Enthusiasts of Rachael Sage, Michelle Young and Kate Bush are certain to be delighted by a broad cross section of the album's material. The recording quality and production of the new album also surpass her debut. One has to get past the ethereal--almost drone--of the opening number "Listening For You" to discover what waits inside the rest of the album.
The remarkable depth and quality of Alive In This Dream begins to come alive in the a fast paced "Princess Mary." Indeed this number with obvious radio quality will be released in October as the second single from the album. We were enthralled with the piano melodies and Lori's soaring lead vocal. Her multi-tracked harmony vocals within the track also work extremely well.
The title track, "Alive In This Dream," is lushly arranged with wonderful keyboard washes that underscore the melody and support Lori's soaring and--at times--whispery voice. Sensually sung, it illustrates the progress of Lori's songwriting and vocal development. The dramatic sound of "For The Kings," whose significant contrasts between verse and dramatic and powerful chorus, make it the album's first standout.
The first single from the album distributed for radio airplay is "Free," a thoughtful alternative style slow rocker. Lori's seriously sung lead is backed by lovely harmonies, heavy rock guitar and crisp percussion. Some will think of Tori Amos when hearing the song, but Lori's vocal prowess shines through in the heartfelt chorus. The sensitively sung singer songwriter textures of the ballad "Oracle" work perfectly with the track's acoustic guitar backing.
The digereedoo gives "Hand To The Wall" a world texture with Lori's soaring vocalise opening the track. The vocal sustain within clearly demonstrates the power, range and depth of Lori's stunning voice. In sharp contrast, a light and upbeat keyboard melody supports the delightful "Swings," a lovely mid-tempo alternative style rocker. Lush keyboards perfectly compliment piano and Lori's soaring vocals.
Rich orchestral style keyboards, soft percussion, and deep bass begin a three-track standout sequence beginning with "As You Hold Me." Vocally very strong and richly arranged the track could have been a little bit longer; maybe there'll be a remix. "Today" follows in a similar style, with tender vocals atop keyboard washes and soft, yet rhythmic, guitar working with the vocal harmonies within the arrangements. The superb instrumentals provide interest behind the powerfully haunting vocal layers. The album concludes with "The Edge." Instrumentally as strong and varied as the vocals, it serves to illustrate the artist's virtuosity. These three tracks are incredibly stunning.
Lori Hawk's new album is an epic project of tremendous depth that is certain to expand her listener base. While several of the tracks are clearly styled in progressive rock, the relatively short track length may prevent the genre's typical listeners from being naturally drawn to the material. Read further reviews, listen to soundbites and order the album from amazon.com here. This tremendous new album from Lori Hawk that will delight Musical Discoveries visitors. Worth a trans-Atlantic journey, Alive In This Dream is clearly a must listen!