CD REVIEW: Michelle Krell - Concrete Scrap Book
By: Cyrus Rhodes
Artist: Michelle Krell
CD: Concrete Scrapbook
Label: Independent Artist
Genre: R&B, Americana Pop
Sounds Like: : Carol King, Wynona Judd, Shania Twain
Technical Grade: 8/10
Weakness: Vocal Performances (Lack of passion & vocal risks)
Michelle Krell is a singer/songwriter/keyboard player from Los Angeles who just released her latest CD entitled Concrete Scrapbook released in 2010. This latest release features 10 new songs, produced by Travis Allen.
The CD quickly takes flight with “First Song” an upbeat intro groove that serves up an inviting vocal groove against driving rock rhythm & well placed vocal harmonies from Krell & company. Track 2 “With a Grain of Sugar” keeps thing moving in the smooth direction with its tranquil introduction, smooth melodic accents & impressive lyrical content. Track 3 “Concret Scapbook” dishes out jumping melody, well placed percussive accents against more melodic vocals from Krell. The production quality is impressive. & the musicianship of everyone involved is clearly above the bar. Along the way you will notice lush instrumentation with things like Hammond organ, keyboard & piano accents, strings, Cello, percussive accents, slamming guitar chops & solos, combined with lush harmonies layered everywhere. The rhythm section pushes the natural accents well. What I like the most about this band is how well they seem to groove together, testament to hundreds of hours of rehearsal time no doubt. Now turning our attention over to Krell - as for her vocal abilities it works well within the confines of this rather dynamic & eccentric catalogue. I suspect some of her vocal influences are – Shania Twain, Wynona Judd, Indigo Girls & Carol King just to name a few. This CD from Krell delivers 10 compelling tracks all providing an interesting snapshot & thought provoking wisdom with messages that are uplifting, positive & carefree. From passionate “ We Don’t Do Paradise”, to melancholy “Rainville” to rocking Prefect in the Picture” this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with “There’s Only One of You” the perfect finale statement for a catalogue like this.
It’s fair to say some of the songwriting, vocal performances, & lyrical content is a bit quirky, over the top & a bit eccentric. A mass audience may have trouble identifying with some of this. Some songs are definitely better than others. Krell also plays it safe on most songs vocally avoiding any serious risks that would indicate a world class vocal ability. Some of the vocal performances even come across as sounding a bit nasally. I don’t care for the way the Kick & Snare drum sit within the mix. For the record my 8 star rating is hanging on by a thread.
From start to finish “Concrete Scrapbook” by Michelle Krell is an impressive collection of music. The music is highly passionate, uplifting, & entertaining. The songwriting – an interesting snapshot. All songs are consistent musical experiences, each one possessing a unique personality, flair, & signature groove. Note for note, song for song this catalogue is rock solid & extremely consistent. The writing & playing abilities of Krell’s band are rock solid, the melodies & harmonies are well crafted. The lyrical content is packed to the hilt with conventional wisdom.