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Artist: Brooke Campbell
Label: 11th Hour Records,  Coffee Cup Ministries, P.O. BOX 645, Mt. Pleasant, SC 29465
Length: 9 tracks/31:43

Combine the silky sound of Natalie Merchant with the beautiful whisper of Sarah McLachlan and you have the vocal potential of Brooke Campbell. Unfortunately, the instrumentation of her freshman album, Reality, does not allow her beautiful voice to take center stage. Were her vocals allowed to lead the music, they might command the sort of attention given to other chick-led bands such as Sixpence None the Richer.

The album drives along for six beautiful songs and then hits a slow-as-molasses wall of three songs for an anti-climactic ending. The quiet and mediocre melodies limp along with monotonous, over-used folk-picking patterns and fail to exploit Campbell's range of trills, beautiful whisper-vibratto and vocal creativity. Although Campbell has tremendous potential and a voice that is, at times, striking, too often she sits flatly behind mediocre measures of harmonica and guitar. Her next album would do much better to feature her voice with more challenging vocal dynamics and passion.

Israel Kloss 


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