Laura Meade — Remedium
(Doone DR15-669563, 2018, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2018-07-28
Exposé readers might be familiar with singer Laura Meade from her work with the band IZZ. Remedium finds her presenting herself as a solo artist, and the result is an excellent amalgam of progressive sounds and interesting textures with memorable melodies and beautiful singing. Meade herself wrote all of the music and words, barring two collaborations with producer and multi-instrumentalist (and IZZ bandmate) John Galgano. Barring piano and chimes from Meade and a few individual-track guest musicians on drums, guitar, and keyboards, Galgano handles all the instruments, including both programmed and real drums. The arrangements are credited to Meade and Galgano together, and they are what really makes the album work. Every song features interesting choices on keyboard sounds, guitar effects, processing, and more. “Dragons” stands as a good example of how well they do their jobs. At a little over 11 minutes, it’s the longest track, and it starts very quietly with harmonics on an acoustic guitar, Meade singing quietly, and minimal piano notes. The parts build gradually for a couple of minutes, and then suddenly a very weird sound enters, perhaps a guitar with a ring modulator, but it ushers in a more upbeat section with a driving bass lines and energetic drums. There’s also a half-time chorus with phase-shifted string synth, sections with multiple overdubbed vocal parts weaving in and out, some with a filter effect on them, and a floating middle section of ambient echoes that evolves into a slinky electronic groove with a nice riff on bass and guitar. The final section drops to a slow tempo with piano and marimba sounds along with a stuttery effect on the lead vocal. Another track uses multiple ukulele parts to great effect. The defining sound on Remedium is of course Meade’s voice, and while it’s true that she has a beautiful tone and precise enunciation, she avoids the trap of simply relying on her clear tone, perfect vibrato, and excellent pitch, managing to sound expressive and human. At times, she reminds me of Candice Night of Blackmore’s Night, and her background in musical theater comes out in her sense of drama, though she avoids sounding stagy. Usually my taste runs towards difficult, dissonant, and angular music, but this album is so well done that I can’t resist its charms. Here’s hoping it’s the first of many solo releases from Laura Meade.
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