EP REVIEW: Laura Saurez - Reach for the Bottom
By: Cyrus Rhodes
Label: Independent Artist
Genre: R&B, Americana, Rock
Sounds Like: Tina Turner, Melissa Etheridge
Technical Grade: 6/10
Dry & Repetitive Musical catalogue, Overbearing vocal delivery
Southern California’s own Laura Saurez releases her latest EP entitled Reach for the Bottom in 2011. Saurez is no stranger to the music business delivering many powerful live performances around Southern California over the years.
The EP kicks things off with “Cellulite Blues” an entertaining bluesy piece that serves up driving guitar rhythm, hilarious lyrical content combined with a powerful vocal delivery from Saurez. Trust me when I say the lyrics on this one will put you on the floor rolling. Track 2 “Songs for Her” serves up a slow moving Americana groove with impressive walking bass line, driving acoustic guitar rhythms & heartfelt vocals. Track 3 is an impressive remake of Burt Russell’s1962 classic “Cry to Me”. As the EP slowly unfolds I can hear many different musical textures reminiscent of classic musical acts such as Bonnie Rait, Melissa Etheridge & classic Janis Joplin. The music itself combines classic elements of bluesy-rock with a classic R&B with an Americana aftertaste. The CD has some truly impressive moments on it showcasing impressive songwriting, & raspy vocal delivery that is powerful, passionate & unique. Zeroing in now on Saurez’s voice: it has a timeless raspy jagged edge to it reminiscent of such classic singers as Tina Turner, & Janis Joplin. She's got the mojo & makes the vital (singer to listener) emotional connection with her vocals & charisma. From rocking “Introduction to the Blues” to the final track “With Guitars and Everything” this EP has something for just about everyone.
If could say anything to Saurez right now - it would be step back from the mic a bit on some of the slower parts, find that emotional pocket & ride down that intensity a bit. I really like the voice, the passion & the raw power from Saurez, but it’s safe to say she comes on way to strong vocally with the power - even when the music doesn’t call for it. It's like a bold font in your face. Its’ fair to say Saurez is guilty of “over singing” some of her parts very much like an actor overacts. The EP is also a bit repetitive. This is mainly due to the solitary musical environment. More instrumentation is needed to fill the sonic space thus keeping the listener entertained during the experience. Instruments like pedal steel, mandolin, fiddles, viola, cello, piano, banjo, percussion, harmonica & even more vocal harmonies & reinforcements would add a much needed musical dimension to the EP. Some of the songs are a bit winded & repetitive. All pieces over 4 minutes in length will drag you to the finish line, even at a coffee house.
The Reach for the Bottom EP showcases some solid music from Laura Saurez. It's a compelling catalogue of music that's easy to groove to, original, & uplifting. All pieces are short & sweet musical experiences, each one possessing its own signature groove, & musical personality. The writing, playing & singing abilities of Laura Saurez shine very much like a rare gem. The lyrical content is packed to the hilt with rich conventional wisdom & last but not least the vocal presence from Laura Saurez is powerful, heartfelt & infectious. Praise goes out to the artist that can let it all hang out musically showing something real & genuine beneath their veil of vanity. Laura Saurez is definitely one of those artists. I look forward to hearing the full length hopefully later on this year.