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Terra Naomi Under The Influence Review

Album. Released 2007.  

BBC Review

Al Gore's favourite singer songwriter with her debut disc...

Helen Groom 2007

When someone is described as a chanteuse, you sometimes wonder whether to bother listening to the album. In this case, the description is accurate, but to give the album a miss would be a shame, although not a crime.

Terra Naomi’s debut album, Under The Influence, has a very North-American sound – think Sarah McLachlan, Tori Amos, Patty Griffin, et al. The most obvious comparison is Alanis Morissette, especially on “Not Sorry”, but unfortunately for Naomi, she comes off the worse for it.

The album only comes to life when “Flesh For Bones” starts. It has a gorgeous acoustic sound, which lets Naomi’s strong vocals come to the fore. The beautiful sound makes you want to close your eyes and sway away with the music in a dreamy reverie. It makes you wish the rest of the tracks here were as good.

"Million Ways" is sure to find its way onto the soundtrack of some American teen drama’s moment of crisis or redemption, with its cracking power chorus. “Something Good To Show You” shows more of Naomi’s classical /operatic training with the kind of enunciation more normally heard in Aida rather than a pop record, far less an anti-war track.

The album’s hidden track hints at Naomi’s drug-affected past, with lyrics such as ‘I’ve got Vicodin, do you want to come over/ I know it’s a long drive from Malibu/ I’ve got a pocket full of pills/ And not one lover / And I’m feeling so bad and so good’. It’s a long way from the less than hard-hitting sound of the rest of the album, such as "Jenny", which is best skipped.

The strength here is in Naomi’s beautifully pure voice, and her skill at creating killer choruses. But this is not an album that is going to rock many people’s worlds. Which is a shame, as some of the tracks hint that a tougher, more raw, more political and less conventional sound is buried somewhere.

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