Album review: SHANNON LaBRIE – Building

SHANNON LABRIE - Building

Moraine Records [Release date 25.09.20]

Since when did just 7 songs make an ‘album’?  And it’s not as if we’re talking prog – this is Americana.  And just 27 minutes of it.

But then we live in strange times.  And when your music is principally streamed (over 12m on Spotify and Apple Music) maybe it no longer matters?

A new one on me, but an artist whose previous works I’ll be exploring, Building is LaBrie’s 3rd album, following Just Be Honest (2013) and War & Peace (2016) – both 12 track efforts, incidentally.  Her songs have also featured in films, commercials and TV shows.

And it’s easy to see why, as she bridges the genres with her own brand of soulful, smoky, easy listening Americana.

The set opens with the single’ Firewalker’, a number that has an air of Larkin’ Poe’s current brand of retro pop (albeit here in a more refined style), ‘Raining Hallelujah’ adds a splash of modern day gospel, and ‘Angels Fall’ has subtle hints of Judie Tzuke – a tantalising, breathy acoustic number with a wonderfully barbed hook and sumptuous melody.

‘The Things We Say’ falls bang smack in Missy Higgins/Sarah McLachlan sparse piano balladry territory (in a similar way to mournful single ‘Alcohol’ on LaBrie’s last album), the title track is a piece of ‘smooth’ easy listening with a soulful jazz-lite vibe, ‘One In A Billion’ another dreamy, breathy, number imbued with mild country tones, and ‘It’s Good To Be King’ closes the set out contrastingly with a gently strummed electric guitar and contemplative vocals à la Susanne Vega or Joni Mitchell.

The excellent vocals, delightfully understated playing, and timeless song writing here mark Shannon LaBrie out as effortlessly cool, and Building a serious calling card.  ****

Review by Pete Whalley

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