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Vanessa Peters - With The Sentimentals

  by Malcolm Carter

published: 4 / 5 / 2015



Vanessa Peters - With The Sentimentals
Label: LSM
Format: CD

intro

Dallas-based singer-songwriter Vanessa Peters shows yet another side to her already impressive musical talents in combining her Americana roots with Danish three-piece the Sentimentals


It has been three years since Dallas-based singer-songwriter Vanessa Peters released ‘The Burn The Truth The Lies’, and, considering that album was something of a career highlight, her new album, where she is joined by Danish band the Sentimentals, certainly has a lot to live up to. Nine of the ten songs are Peters originals. The opening cut, ‘Pacific Street’ is written by Dan Messe and may be known by his band’s (Hem) original version, Being such a talented songwriter herself and an exceptional lyricist one wonders why Peters chose this particular song to open the album; while Peters turns in a perfectly pleasant take and the Sentimentals show their musical skills there’s just a little too much of Sting’s ‘Fields Of Gold’ sprinkled over what is otherwise an inspired version of the song. At least Peters can’t be accused of just copying the song; the band have certainly left their mark all over the song now and anyone not familiar with the original but who has heard and loved Peters before will be far from disappointed. Those who have been following Peters' career might also recognise three other songs, ‘Afford To Pretend’ appeared on Peters' ‘Blackout’ EP while two other songs, ‘Big Time Underground’ and ‘Fireworks’ go back to Peters' earlier band Ice Cream Mondays' ‘Little Films’ album. While these new versions confirm that the comments made by this magazine about Peters sounding like Aimee Mann on her last album were valid which weren’t so obvious on the earlier takes, the Sentimentals do add a nice, comfy warm glow to these latest versions which suit the songs so well. It’s not all snug Scandinavian cosiness though; ‘Light’ is but one track where the band and Peters show a darker side (despite the title of the song). The atmosphere created by singer, band and producer is one that will send shivers down the listener's spine. It’s more experimental than a lot of Peters' earlier folky-pop work, even pushing the boundaries of the strain of Americana that the Scandinavians are so adept at creating. Maybe working with the Sentimentals has caused Peters to broaden her boundaries a little, while giving the three-piece band a chance to breath and test new waters. Tracks such as ‘Mostly Fictions’ reaffirm just how talented Peters is as a lyricist. She’s lost none of her story-telling skills in the few years between album releases, and it’s on songs like this where the coupling of Peters little poems to the rich, comforting sounds of the Sentimentals that make the listener realise that this is a perfect pairing of two musical forces. The way Peters paints little pictures in the mind of the listener is remarkable, ‘The Choice’ opens with the lines “You are always there/In the recess of some small dark corner where I sweep the dust every morning when I try to shake the cobwebs from my brain” while the Sentimentals provide the perfect restrained musical backing to make the portrait really vivid. It’s songs like this that make Peters so special. While she is not the only female singer/songwriter who is making music as captivating as this, Peters is surely up there with the best. ‘Fickle Friends’ is yet another track where Peters' lyrics, along with her vocal delivery, displays all that is special about her music, the sadness and longing in her voice as she delivers lines like “And I’d like to imagine that when I am gone someone will notice” is particularly affecting. It seems that by pairing up with the Sentimentals both Peters and her producer husband Rip Rowan (who also plays keyboards throughout the album) have added even more depth and space to their sound, and overall the album ranks as the most adventurous Peters has released to date. The failed love song that closes the album, ‘Getting By’ is heart wrenching in its honesty, and the musical touches supplied by the band add just the right amount of support in all the right places. It’s the perfect end to an album that more than lives up to expectations.



Track Listing:-
1 Pacific Street
2 Call You All the Time
3 Big Time Underground
4 Mostly Fictions
5 The Choice
6 Fickle Friends
7 Fireworks
8 Light
9 Afford to Pretend
10 Getting By


Band Links:-
http://vanessapeters.com/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vanessa_Peters
http://www.handful-of-sparks.de/
https://www.facebook.com/vanessapeters.music
https://twitter.com/vanessapeters



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