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Center of My Universe
Artists: Michelle Tumes
Label: Sparrow
Length: 10 tracks/35.22 minutes

Deep Love

Michelle Tumes has one of those voices which seems to effortlessly float over whatever musical landscape is placed beneath, while staying close enough to the ground to engage with the scenery. The influences of Clannad and Enya are clear to see, but it is ethereal pop rather than Celtic inflections which is Tumes's strength.

Opening with a selection of ethereal pieces which serve to emphasize her vocal strength, Tumes's sophomore release soon begins to venture into more grounded material, with "Do Ya" (the next single release) breaking into breezy pop territory. This approach is a welcome contrast to the rest of the album, for although Tumes's vocals can be exquisite, the derivative feel of much of the material can become a little tiring after repeat listens.

The lyrics are appropriately poetic, but are not really anything to write home about. They don't detract from the musical landscapes but they don't add any particularly noteworthy landmarks.

A move forward from her debut, Center of My Universe shows that Michelle Tumes's vocal talents continue to develop. But to really take advantage of that voice, the material will need to develop further. Whether that is towards more minimalist arrangements or in another direction we wait to see.

James Stewart 5/29/2000



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