How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Eliane Amherd creates bright and cheery, easy to listen to; jazz music that's a perfect soundtrack to sunny summer days. She also writes and performs material with a harder edge, darker and raunchier. She's blessed with a strong voice that's capable of intimate romance and bluesy hollers, and she is a fine guitarist, with touches of Marc Ribot
For the most part, Amherd creates a light Latin and Brazilian influenced jazz sound, with some deftly performed pop beats for added aural sunshine. "Let Me Explain" is a perfect summer song, with Amherd's multi-tracked vocals and lightly played guitar mixing with Bill Ware
's sparkling vibes. "Now And From Now On" is another slice of upbeat and up-tempo fun, enlivened by Gustavo Amarente's rich and chunky bass line, while "Batucada" is a dance remix of the tune."As If" melds Brazilian rhythm and a rockier guitar sound with a cheekily sexy vocal to once again lift the spirits.
Things get a little too light on a couple of tracks. "Don't Give Up On Me" is a slinky but rather too-smooth blues, "Steady And Slow" is just too laidback and lackluster. These are not bad songs, just nothing out of the ordinary.
It's when Amherd takes a few more risks that she really finds her voice. After the light, Caribbean vibe of the lovely "Me Fe Tan Pliji" and "Feel A Little Sorry For Yourself," the darker, slinkier "Where Is Home" comes as a bit of a surprise. Amherd's guitar has a raw earthiness to its soundstrikingly counterbalanced by Ware's soft and gentle vibesand her voice is edgy and powerful. On Tom Waits
' "Temptation," Amherd combines breathy and seductive vocals with more of her gutsier, Ribot-inspired, guitar playing. Ware responds by hardening the sound of his vibes and the percussion has real bite.
Amherd is a stylish and expressive singer and a guitarist of real quality. Her songwriting is a little inconsistent, but she is capable of creating some intriguing songs. She also produced Now And From Now On. A highly recommended album, from a highly recommended artist.
Track Listing: Now And From Now On; As If; Me Fe Tan Pliji; Don't Give Up On Me; Feel A Little Sorry For Yourself; Where Is Home; Let Me Explain; Temptation; Trust You; Steady And Slow; Batucada.
Personnel: Eliane Amherd: vocals, guitar; Bill Ware: vibes; Gustavo Amarante: bass; Willard Dyson: drums; Ze Mauricio: percussion.