Amy Macdonald – Under StarsCultureMusicAlbum reviews
Amy Macdonald makes a triumphant reappearance on the soft rock music scene with her latest album Under Stars. The singer-songwriter is the true light behind each tune, illuminating every song with her dusky, sombre, sometimes sultry voice – though that is not always sufficient to make up for some occasional emotionally distant tracks. Although Macdonald tries an array of novel producers, the record still stays true to her prior work. Overall, Under Stars is a feat for the seasoned musician, yet she sometimes fizzles in her attempt to create works of art that live up to her Herculean potential.
Dream On, a classic up-tempo, chipper, rock and roll album opener serves to set things off with a bang, though ends up being just an inconspicuous spark. A disappointingly generic, repetitive and predictable number, it starts Under Stars off on the wrong foot, leaving the listener disengaged. The next two songs, the title track and the uninvolved yet rousing Automatic, will make one wonder whether the rest of the album will continue to feel so prosaic until they discover its Cimmerian gem, Down by the Water. Here, Macdonald suddenly unleashes her vocal prowess, utilising the darker, slower, glossier melody to accentuate the thought-out, fascinating lyrics. As her voice joins the choral section towards the end and the instruments crescendo, the song transforms into something breathtakingly meaningful and magical.
Although one might assume from the opening riff that Leap of Faith will lack inspiration like the first three tracks, the singer’s voice quickly takes control of the number, grasping it by the reins and forcing it into an intentionally rapid piece that balances a brisk beat with ingenious lyrics. Never Too Late is also commendable, leaving just enough unsaid in its soft, unprocessed, understated, acoustic manner, which feels less concerned with agility, and more with the exquisiteness of the track. Each lyric and vocal modulation is carefully planned and poised to accentuate the merits of the composition. Although it maintains the repetitive, feel-good style of innumerable hits by the songwriter, it nevertheless manages to be abstractly extravagant.
Amy Macdonald truly hones her undeniable talent in her latest album. While it sometimes sounds lackadaisical, it more often shines brilliantly, rendering it truly awe-inspiring.
Under Stars is released on 17th February 2017, for further information or to order the album visit here.
Listen to the official audio for Dream On here: