Pop Albums: Amanda Marshall Amanda Marshall Epic EPC 483791 2

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The Independent Culture
Canadian Amanda Marshall has the big voice and big hair of the traditional rock chick, but has to rely on producer David Tyson for most of the material on her UK debut album.

It's not necessarily a drawback, but songs such as "Let It Rain" are a little too eagerly anthemic, in the vein of Taylor Dayne or Pat Benatar, while the piano and strings of ballads such as "Beautiful Goodbye" merely provide an opportunity for Marshall to over-emote badly.

The result is that despite the superficially impressive settings provided by such top hired hands as Leland Sklar and Kenny Aronoff, the songs seem hollow and the emotions faked. "Birmingham", for instance, may acclaim the abused Alabama wife who leaves home in search of a new life, but the mewling trail of soprano sax which decorates it comes from a very different, middle-class existence from the country tradition which might more accurately have reflected the character's working-class life.

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