CD REVIEW: Kristina Westin - "What a Night"
By: Cyrus Rhodes
"Westin's vocal presence is world class.'
- INDIE MUSIC DIGEST:-
Artist: Kristina Westin
Genre: Acoustic Rock, Pop
Sounds Like: Quarterflash, Pat Benetar, Sara McLaughlin, Dixie Chicks
Technical Grade: 7/10
Weakness: Dated sounding Production, Marketability.
Swedish singer songwriter Kristina Westin releases their latest album entitled “What a Night” in 2010.
The CD quickly takes to flight with “I’m at War” a dynamic intro piece that serves up driving rhythm, well placed grooves & hooky melody that peaks & valleys its way through fruition. Track 2 “What a Night” shifts gears a bit with a steady flowing piano driven melody, serving up full tilt vocal passion from Westin. This piece is quite impressive with its demonstrating impressive vocal delivery & finale ending. Track 3 shifts gears back down another notch with Fever” an easy flowing vocal vibe with it’s soothing folksy vibe, infectious melody & impressive lyrical content. As this CD slowly unfolds I can hear many different musical soundscapes reminiscent of such classic acts such as Quarterflash, Sara McLaughlin, & even The Dixie Chicks & maybe a splash of Heart & Indigo Girls. The music itself is an impressive modern blend of acoustic rock, with folksy-type elements, yet with an alternative rock aftertaste. The musicianship of everyone involved is clearly above the bar. Along the way you will notice lush instrumentation with things like lush harmonies, impressive slide guitar chops, Mandolin, Piano, various percussive accents & even horn section. Turning our attention squarely on Westin she has an impressive voice reminiscent of Stevie Nicks, Sara McLaughlin, & Rindy Ross (Quarterflash). I might Westin takes several vocal risks throughout the CD indicating to me a song & confident vocal ability. Her falsetto is to die for. The songwriting is rock solid as provides a lot of musical variety. . I can honestly say I was entertained the entire time, with never a dull moment to be found. Note for note & song for song – “What a Night” is am impressive musical production from start to finish. I was entertained the entire time without a weak song on the entire catalogue. From passionate “Stay Another Year”, “Where do I go” to powerful “Up in the Air”, “Reasons”, Please Get Away” to upbeat “I’m Walking Away” & “Pretty Girls” this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with “When the Rain Comes’ a perfect finale piece waving you end for a smooth landing.
It’s had to find solid weakness with this CD but its fair to say the production is very 1978 sounding. If the year was 1980 this would be a cutting edge musical production no doubt. Unfortunately the year is 2011 & the bar is set really high for artists like Westin with respect to modern recording, mixing & mastering techniques. I am well aware that this is a subjective art for but all of the above does affect the productions marketability. It just sounds extremely dated. If the production was more modern sounding with respect to the songwriting it would not only be a 10 it would be a world class musical production as well..
From start to finish “What a Night” is an impressive catalogue of music. The music is highly original, uplifting, & extremely entertaining. Note for note, song for song there isn’t really weak piece on this entire catalogue. The writing & playing abilities of Kristina Westin & Her band are rock solid, the melodies & harmonies are well crafted, & the lyrical content is packed to the hilt with conventional wisdom. Last but not least the vocal presence of Westin is world-class. I look forward to hearing more material from Kristina Westin soon.
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