Julia Dollison: Observatory (2005)
With Ben Monder's guitar harmonies surrounding her light, airy voice, Julia Dollison sings familiar tunes and several originals on this debut album. She overdubs her voice in order to achieve a choir of similar voices. Delivering lines with a cool demeanor, she expresses each message openly with a contemporary flair. Emotion plays a considerable part in her performance, but the emphasis lies in her pop-flavored directions.
These eleven pieces are a good introduction to her effervescent persona. "Autumn in New York" highlights her voice alone and with chorus. "All the Things You Are" exposes the guitar aura that surrounds her so conveniently. "Forward, Like So" comes with a casual chorus conversation, while "In a Mellotone" reinforces the emotional force of this recording. Monder complements with a searing guitar solo that is clearly one of the session's high points. "Poses" and "Observatory" express Dollison's communicative ease clearly. She appeals to a broad jazz/rock audience and will give Gen Y-ers sufficient reason to become curious.
The album includes more than mere introduction, of course. Dollison's "Night and Day" forges straight-ahead, fast and furious, and comes with a wordless vocal section that invites tradition into her performance. Solos by guitar and upright bass give the interpretation a hearty outlook.
Dollison moves fluidly through all of her interpretations, demonstrating virtuosity in her vocal performance. Her coolness takes over on the slower ballads, while her emotions fire up on the up-tempo romps. Observatory comes well-equipped with variety, but the pop-flavored nature of her focus leaves the album wanting for more sincerity during the slower ballad selections.
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Track Listing: Autumn in New York; All the Things You Are; Forward, Like So; In a Mellotone; Night and Day (Nite Daze); Lost at Sea; Your Mind is on Vacation; I'm Old Fashioned; Promise Me Not to Love Me; Poses; Observatory.
Personnel: Julia Dollison: vocals, piano; Ben Monder: guitar; Matt Clohesy: bass; Ted Poor: drums.