26 of 33 people found the following review helpful
Needs the right material,
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This review is from: Glorious (Audio CD)
The problem is that Laura Wright has a stunning voice - she's just recording the wrong type of material. 'Glorious', unlike 'The Last Rose' (her debut solo effort), has a few songs that are right for her and there's an original song, which makes it a mild improvement.
Wright is not expressive, she's a straight arrow choral singer; the vocals are technically perfect and she has a beautiful quality to her voice, but it's dead nor does it have power. At no moment does she sound authentic or connected to her material. Having her sing patriotic songs is, in my view, absolutely absurd. These songs are supposed to rouse us, be big, be infectious, be imbued with pride and passion; instead she's sending us to sleep. The majority of the material suffers in the same way as it did in her debut. Perhaps the public agrees as Russell Watson's conceptually identical album is performing vastly better than this one.
Fortunately Wright recorded two songs for this album that suited her perfectly and reminded me why I was such a big fan of her voice when she was in All Angels. 'Sanctus' (a choral adaptation of Elgar's 'Nimrod') and Karl Jenkins's 'Benedictus' are right on the money. True, 'Sanctus' was pretty much lifted from All Angels's second album 'Into Paradise' but the all new choral arrangement (no instruments) truly makes it worthwhile. I saw her do this live and thought I was in love with her again, but the rest of the set included 'The Rose' and 'Race to the End' which soured me almost instantly. She just shouldn't be singing pop songs; she only got away with them in All Angels because Daisy Chute was there to give them soul. 'Benedictus', meanwhile, reminds everyone why she won BBC's "Chorister of the Year" in 2005 - it smoothly rivals Hayley Westenra's version and Wright definitely has the edge with the inclusion of the cello.
'Stronger As One' is the original song for the album, used as the official song for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. Whilst I am pleased that an original song has made its way on to a Decca album, it's not very good, and Laura's performance of it even less so. Even the use of ethnic vocals and percussion does little to lift it from Wright's neutral delivery. The song could have been rescued if it were in the more capable lungs of Katherine Jenkins or Becky Jane Taylor. New Decca tenor Noah Stewart acts as a saving grace for the vocal adaptation of Ravel's 'Boléro' which is the only "rousing" song on the album.
Despite the criticisms (which may seem heavy and harsh) I am pleased I bought this album. It's clear to me I can still be a fan of Wright, if only she records the right material. The fact that I find her interpretations rather empty is irrelevant when it comes to her choral material - choral and her voice are the perfect fit. The only thing that saddens me is that she was making whole albums of this type of music when she was with All Angels and they were ten times better than what Wright offers as a soloist. Yet All Angels have been dropped and Wright taken on as a solo artist. She's selling nowhere near as many albums as All Angels did (ignore the press kits that say Wright has sold a million - that was with All Angels - she's sold no more than 40,000 max on her own). There's a sense that Decca are desperate to convince *themselves* that Laura is a star. She's getting plenty of exposure but the sales are not backing this idea up. The mind boggles. As a Decca customer, I feel rather short changed.
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Showing 1-10 of 10 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 2 Jun 2012 20:40:31 BDT
Kathryn P says:
Maybe this reviewer should try to open her mind to appreciate the qualities of Laura Wright and her amazing voice. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but i disagree totally with this piece of writing.
The album is very rousing, and the emotion in her voice is spine tingling.
In reply to an earlier post on 2 Jun 2012 21:01:41 BDT
My mind is open and the review unbiased. I have been following Laura since 2007 and have called myself a fan. I have definitely appreciated Laura throughout the years and supported her by buying her albums and paying for tickets to see her live, I just think she has been taken in the wrong direction for her voice since the second All Angels album. Just because I don't agree with you, does not mean I am closed minded. Laura is incredible when she sings choral based music and wanted to give that feedback. Best wishes and I am very sorry if I have caused any offense.
Posted on 3 Jun 2012 10:41:04 BDT
I think that there is more expression/performance on this album than on 'The Last Rose' I would say that she sounds connected to the material on 'Born Free' and 'The Rose' especially. Everyone's entitled to their opinion though.
In reply to an earlier post on 3 Jun 2012 11:17:58 BDT
Yes, I am happy that most of fans are enjoying the new album. We are not all the same though and the world would be boring if we were! :) I just read your review and you point out 'Benedictus' and 'Sanctus' as highlights so we have a common ground there at least. :) xx
Posted on 3 Jun 2012 18:39:56 BDT
Micajah Burnett says:
Nicola - I thought this was a great review! Very thorough and I found myself agreeing with so much of it! I do miss All Angels. They were one of my favorite groups for quite some time. I'd be interested to know more of the details as to why they were dropped by Universal if they originally had a 5 album deal. I was hoping we would get at least 2 more albums out of them as a group! I understand that due the age of the girls life probably could have gone in a thousand different directions for each of them, though their music was superb. Laura was definitely my personal favorite in the group, but I sure do miss that harmony!
In reply to an earlier post on 3 Jun 2012 19:44:22 BDT
Multi-album deals only stand up if the previous album met certain conditions (i.e. enough sales). Their third and final album was a flop (something I believe Decca organised deliberately - pulling it back until after Christmas and then giving it no promotion whatsoever) so Decca were able to pull out of the contract legally.
Posted on 4 Jun 2012 10:51:52 BDT
roger stonely says:
Somewhere in here seems to be some sour grapes, this is an album for the time we are in Glorious, Jubilee and Olympic.
Laura Wright is recording absolutely the right repertoire for someone so young (21 years old), her operatic arias will come in time - her lungs are plenty big enough and more importantly, are growing as she progresses her musical study.
This is only the beginning
In reply to an earlier post on 4 Jun 2012 11:09:37 BDT
I personally have no interest in Laura singing arias; that was not what I was suggesting. The review is just my opinion, I don't see why anyone should get personal about it.
Posted on 4 Jun 2012 11:47:51 BDT
J. Harvey says:
I was also rather disappointed with Glorious. I loved Laura's contribution to All Angels and liked her first solo album, but I don't feel the passion coming through in this album that the material led me to expect. I won't let it stop me looking forward to seeing Laura in concert at Hampton Court, though.
In reply to an earlier post on 4 Jun 2012 18:07:08 BDT
Micajah Burnett says:
Ahhhh that makes a lot of sense. It is a shame because there were some wonderful tracks on Fly Away! Daisy and Laura were ahead of the other two I think vocally and musically. I think both of them were taking their music studies to the university level while the other two were doing other things, which is fine! The group just started when they were so young. It is hard to know what your long term interests are at that age. It did seem as though vocally Laura and Daisy were progressing and contributing a lot musically while the other two did not seem to as much to me on their last album. I think they brought something unique to the crossover genre as a quartet. The vocal contrast between Laura and Daisy was really nice. Both had such different strengths and styles, but it enabled them to sing a wider range of repertoire, and layering the voices of Charlotte and Melanie really filled the sound out. Perhaps we will hear a solo album from Daisy in the near future? I would definitely purchase it! I think as a soloist Laura did have the most commercial potential of the four of them. Looks? Check. Pretty voice? Check. I only wish Decca would put the proper effort into finding just the right material for her, and I agree! Some original songs would be very nice, even in a more choral style. Hopefully the label will not do the same thing to her as they did to All Angels if this album doesn't perform well! My hope is that there is a third album with songs that are not so frequently recorded by people in the crossover genre. Things that really suit her voice and perhaps some original material.
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