Dana Wylie Band - Almost There...
This debut release sounds awfully familiar, which cuts both ways. Dana Wylie and company play catchy blends of country, rock, and light jazz, with hooks aplenty and quirky lyrics. They also play fairly tepidly, each tune never quite rising above radio-friendly and the self-consciously quirky. The band is competent, and has experience in many a rock and bluegrass session, but they are reserved, settling for catchy, easy hooks and deferring to the Wylie's lyrics, which wouldn't be a bad thing if the words held their weight consistently.
Wylie's vocals are somewhere in between Amy Ray and Norah Jones-sincere but slick. Even songs with strong imagery like "Winter in April" or "The Money Song" would not sound out of place in the set of a bar band with orders to play, but not to distract. Too often the lyrics fall back on clever ("Getting Ahead (The I Don't Have Time Song"; "Karmically Due") when insightful would have helped.
"Even in Saskatchewan," the opening track, works best because its lyrics are insightful, the band confident and driving the rhythm.
If you like competent, unchallenging cocktail rock, "Almost There..." is for you. Dana Wylie has a strong voice, and hopefully the whimsy and smarts in her writing will someday trump the cloying. As it stands, this is a record that is a bit further from almost there.
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