Cary Grace - Tygerland - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Cary Grace - Tygerland

by Jeff Penczak Rating:7 Release Date:2015-07-13

Prolific American ex-pat Grace has been living in England for the past decade and manufactures Wiard brand boutique modular syntheszers while not putting them to good use, as demonstrated throughout her ninth album (first in four years). Most of the album was recorded during a live session a year ago, with assistance from Planet Gong guitarist Steffe Sharpstrings and keyboardist (and Alison Moyet’s musical director), John Garden. The title track is an improvisational tune-up that runs headlong into the fearless and ferocious rocker ‘Cyanide’, wherein Grace whips out some incendiary guitar solos alongside sweetly tantalizing vocals.

The multi-instrumentalist Cary puts her vintage Minimoog synth through its paces for the eerily evocative ‘Orange Sky’, which hovers angelically like some long lost Kate Bush b-side. ‘War Child’ is a lengthy, bluesy swagger that’s equal parts Tina Turner, Annie Lennox, and Jim Morrison (complete with a lengthy, Doorsy jam that invites the spirit of Ray Manzarek to sit in). But for me, Grace is at her best when she lays back and lets that sultry voice pour all over you like a hot jar of honey, Ohio Express style. 

The smooth grooves of ‘Limelight’ show off her jazzy chops (with another exquisitely crisp solo), while the lovely ‘Razorwire’ features throbbing basslines, poetically ephemeral lyrics and another searing vocal performance that fondly recalls the best of Dory Previn. In a perfect world, this would be one of the summer of ’15’s fondest memories and deserves as much airplay as it can get.

Only epic performance piece ‘Windsong’ fails to gel, struggling under its 20-minute weight to generate coherence. I lost Grace’s plot about halfway through and wrote it off as a subpar, overbearing theatrical piece that comes off as third tier Ann Magnuson, minus Bongwater’s wit and imagination. But up until then, I had a blast and Grace’s success at the variety of musical styles she tackles and hats she dons is commendable and worthy of a few spins. Seek it out directly from Cary’s website.

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