It has been two years since Lanae' Hale released her debut self-titled EP. However, since then, Lanae' has been signed by Centricity, and has now released her first full-length project, Back and Forth.
The album opens with the title track, a song that would be, and may be, a strong single on radio for Lanae. The song describes how life throws challenges at us, but at the end of the day God is always there. Lanae's breathy vocals are a treat to listen to, giving her the ability to sing softly, but also to give emphasis to stronger lyrics. The next couple of tracks, "Beautiful Things" and "Here"s my Heart" follow the same pattern. It is easy to draw similarities in these songs to offerings from Sixpence None the Richer, but at the same time everything sounds fresh.
"Burning Heartbeats" brings back memories of Lanae"s debut EP. The song has an acoustic feel to it, but by the time the chorus kicks in Lanae's new style comes back. This feels like a transition song, and goes to show how well this project has been put together. Back and Forth contains a number of other acoustic songs, including "Let"s Grow Old Together" (which has that iPod advert feel to it), "It's Over," and "Don't Cry."
The album also contains an anthemic song called "Here's To The Girls." The idea of "girl-power" songs seems to be becoming a tradition for female artists in today's music world. Most of the time these songs can be cheesy, but not this one. Lanae' manages to pull off a female anthem and make it sound good. However, it may make the project seem a bit girly for some people, which is unfortunate.
There is a lot to like on Lanae' Hale's first full-length album, and all of it is well crafted, making a strong debut. If you like artists such as Sixpence None the Richer and Nichole Nordeman or the secular artists KT Tunstall and Faith Hill, you will love Back & Forth. If not, still give this record a listen anyway, it is well worth it!- Review date: 5/17/09, written by David Couch of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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