Saturday, June 6, 2009

A Quick Review: Mandy Moore's "Amanda Leigh"

Being a fan of Mandy Moore comes as a surprise to a lot of people I encounter. "Why???!?" seems to be the most popular response. The thing is, at the ripe old age of 25, she's become quite the songstress. Forget "Candy" and the teen princess pop she did 10 years ago; she doesn't want you to remember it anyway. She's been working stealthily the past few years to let people know she belongs much more into the classic pop realm. I first took major notice with her covers album, "Coverage" where she paid homage to XTC, Cat Stevens and Blondie, among others. Her last album "Wild Hope" was a very mature step forward in her musical growth. She's much more Carole King than Britney Spears. In short, readers, she's one of us.

Her new album, entitled "Amanda Leigh", is the boldest statement yet in her musical growth. The album was co-written and produced by Candy Butcher/Major Label Mike Viola and recorded in Ducky Carlisle's home studio in Boston. That's right folks, 2/3 of the Major Labels play a large part in the creation of her newest album.

That fact alone should have you running from your keyboard to buy a copy.

The album isn't a hard Power Pop affair. It's a lovely, light as a feather and highly acoustic pop album and Mike's fingerprints are all over it. More than a few times during the discs running time, it sounds like Mandy had joined the Candy Butchers. The joint effort is fruitful, bountiful even. The opening track, "Merrimack River", is a great introduction to what's to come, with Mike and Mandy's vocals wrapping around each others beautifully. The followup track, "Fern Dell", has a great Jazzy feel. The first single off the disc is "I Could Break Your Heart Any Day Of The Week". It sounds, to these ears, like a Three Dog Night tribute from it's opening "Family Of Man" organ riff to the "Shambala" infused chorus.

Other disc highlights include "Pocket Philosopher", which has an admitted Nilsson/Newman vibe to it, while "I want Love To love Me Back" is 70's MOR perfection.

This album gets a high grade from this guy. It's recommended. Go git it.

Here is a great concert from Amoeba Records last week featuring Mandy and Mike:

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