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Amanda Easton - Chanteuse

  by Malcolm Carter

published: 22 / 7 / 2007

Amanda Easton - Chanteuse
Label: Wildcat Records
Format: CD


Confident second album of electronic influenced theatrical pop from talented Sydney-based singer-songwriter Amanda Easton

This is the second solo release from Sydney artist Amanda Easton who is well known in her country for being a Pop Tart (check out Amanda’s excellent My Space page for more details). I have to admit I initially missed out on her first self-titled album and only discovered what a fantastically talented singer Amanda is by the backing vocals she did on Simon Morel’s two albums. But if ‘Chanteuse’ had been the my first introduction into the wonderful musical world of Amanda and her Pop Tarts then I would never have guessed that it was the same girl who sang those magical backing vocals on Simon Morel’s albums. This girl can sing, but the most amazing thing about Amanda’s singing prowess is how she can tackle such different styles and win every time. Hearing Amanda’s first album once I realised that she had, in fact, made two albums already under her own name and wasn’t just a talented backing singer who deserved to make albums of her own, was no great surprise. It was an album of pretty perfect pop but with that added bonus of Easton vocals; in a world full of wannabe female vocalists here was one that could do it for real. But that didn’t prepare me, nor any others I’ll bet, for this roller coaster of an album that Amanda has just released called ‘Chanteuse’. According to Amanda this album is “for the morning after”…theatrical pop with chilled out electronic beats…tinged with blues and jazz. This is a better description than any I could have thought of and is absolutely spot on. It’s almost one of a kind; almost because the nearest comparison I can get to it is the album noted jazz singer Barb Jungr cut a couple of years ago with Mari Wilson and Claire Martin under the Girl Talk banner. But where their album was a collection of well-known songs given a complete make-over Amanda’s album is made up of original Eastman songs. Also Jungr left most of her jazz moves at home when she made that album; Amanda brings hers to the fore on the 12 songs that make up ‘Chanteuse’. But written all over both albums is that fact that those taking part seem to be having so much fun making these songs come to life. Surprise number two is the fact that power-pop King Michael Carpenter co-produced ‘Chanteuse’ along with Matt Fell. The sound he produces here couldn’t be further from the sound he is usually associated with. That he passes the challenge with flying colours is, of course, no surprise given his past achievements but that he can produce something so different from that he is known for is the same kind of gigantic step George Martin took from producing Peter Sellers and co. to his ground-breaking work with The Beatles. But let’s not take any praise away from those vocals that make this album, Amanda is on top form throughout and in composing or co-composing every one of the 12 songs here ( some with Simon Morel ) she proves that not only is she one of the best female singers we have but also an accomplished composer too. Not for Amanda the little-girl-lost vocals which many female singers use and she doesn’t need to shout and bawl to get her point across, here is a singer who sounds strong, confident, sassy , sexy and in control of everything. She takes you into that smoky club, complete with red velvet seats; she’s up on that stage and you’re hanging onto every word that she sings. And I’m sitting here in a small room in Sweden on a cold, rainy Sunday afternoon so that’s some achievement. While it’s all too easy for a good author to be able to transport you to another place and time it’s not so easy for someone to do that just by singing in a certain style but Amanda does it time and again on this album. If I was told at the beginning of this year that by the half way mark one the albums I’d played most this year was going to be an album of torch-type songs made by an Australian female singer and produced by one of my favourite musicians/producers I would not have believed you. But that’s yet another good thing about the music that Amanda makes; never expect the expected. It’s far too early to even think about a follow-up of course but it would be good if Amanda made at least one more album in this vein before she moved on to something different again.

Track Listing:-
1 Less Ordinary
2 Nothing
3 Stolen
4 Just Not That Into You
5 Living The Wong Life
6 Head Over Heels
7 My Love Letter
8 Terrify Me
9 All That I Need
10 Ready Aim Fire
11 Wouldn't Change It For The World
12 Let's Run Away

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