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Lauren Christy


Country of origin:

England

Type of music generally:

Ethereal pop

Status:

Most recent release, Breed (1997)

See also:

All Music Guide's entry on Lauren Christy

Wikipedia's entry for Lauren Christy

She appears to have an active career as a hit songwriter

Comparisons:

Kate Bush, Sarah McLachlan, Sarah Brightman, Tori Amos

Covers/own material:

Mostly co-written—she has gone on to write songs for mainstream pop artists.

General comments:

This unknown but talented artist has a heart wrenching, whisper of a voice, reminiscent of Kate Bush at some (brief) moments, Sarah Brightman at others, Sarah McLachlan at still others.
     She was nominated for the Best New Artist Grammy, as well as the Best Song from a Movie Grammy. She didn't win either, but she should have. (nyxnight@aol.com)

I was immediately drawn to her ballad lyrics and her lush, entrancing voice. (jason@ea.oac.uci.edu)

Recommended first album:

Either, depending on your tastes: Lauren Christy is more synth pop and Breed more rock

Recordings:


Lauren Christy

Release info:

1994—Mercury/Polygram—314 522 999-2

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Group members:

Lauren Christy—vocals, backing vocals

Guest artists:

Jay Olive—drum programming, keyboards
John Andrew Schreiner—piano, keyboards, drum programming
Brad Buxer—drum programming, keyboards
Dean Parks—guitars
Jim Lang—drum programming, keyboards, clock
Terry Wood, Liz Constantine, Deborah Holland, Nate Phillips, Kenny Pettus, Sherwood Ball, Tony Peluso—backing vocals
Pat Mastolato—additional drums

Produced by:

Tony Peluso

Comments:

Highly recommended for fans of ethereal soft pop á la Sarah McLachlan, Sensual World-era Kate Bush, or Sarah Brightman. Closer to mainstream than most ectofodder, but still falling in the proper area, is this album of not-quite-pop music. Mostly mid-tempo or slow songs, with a one-time foray into slightly-above-mid-tempo beat. "Color Of The Night", "My Jeans I Want Them Back", and "Steep" are the stars of the album. (nyxnight@aol.com)

As you can tell by the music credits, this album is synthesizer and rhythm machine heavy, its main downfall. At first listen there was only one song I liked, "Vanessa's father", which is just Lauren's voice and piano. (I was disappointed when I finally read the credits because I pictured that she was playing it.) The synthesized drums were an immediate turnoff. However, after a few more listenings, even some of the more-produced songs grew on me, even one with the silly chorus of "My jeans I want them back". Lauren has a lovely voice. I bought her album after hearing comparisons to Tori Amos, and even a friend who'd heard of Tori, but not heard her, thought "Vanessa's father" was indeed Tori. There are obvious similarities, particularly in some of the lyrics, but the sound is quite different. I would say that it would have been easy for Tori to go in the same direction if she'd worked with different people. Some of the songs on this album are heartbreakingly beautiful, particularly the falling out of love song, "Steep", which captures the feeling so eloquently. Some good hooks as well. (julesette@delphi.com)

although incredibly beautiful with her voice and lyrics, the music was somewhat—well, keyboard/poppish. (enzo1@idt.net)

It is very rare that I will take the trouble to listen to, much less actually REVIEW an artist who is already on a major record label. This isn't just snobbishness; I really don't like music if it sounds too "mainstream"—it grates against my nerves. There are exceptions, of course... We all admit to having our guilty pleasures. I also feel that there are many other musicians which deserve more exposure, so this is another reason I don't review or promote such music very often.
     But Lauren Christy is one of those rare occasions. Tori Amos she's not. Kate Bush she's not. But when you listen to this music, you'll realize that Lauren Christy's probably quite a fan of their music. I have a sinking feeling that she's had to make a lot of artistic compromises before she'd get put onto Mercury records though.
     Her voice is asthetically pleasing, and she sings in tune, but she doesn't have the range of Kate Bush or the sensuousness of Tori Amos, although she might come close. Her lyrics read like stories, and if you close your eyes you can see them as movies. This is a quality I admire in people like Suzanne Vega. Unfortunately, it is sometimes hard to get past the poppish sounds that are layered on top of her songs.
     Born and raised in London, Christy studied ballet dancing from the age of 11 to 17, and was in the Royal Ballet company at the height of her dancing career, but decided to explore the other side of her artistic expression. Her influences are broad and diverse, ranging from Peter Gabriel, Kate Bush and Blue Nile to Bach and Public Enemy. At the age of 16 she led a group called Pink Ash, with 5 guys, and at 17 she joined an all-girl group called Shi Shi Ha Ha ("in Japanese this word means the celebration of a young girls' first menstruation," Lauren explains).
     Now [c. 1994] she lives in LA, and just finished a tour of North America. Live, she performs all of her songs with a piano ONLY, just like Tori. I wish I could hear most of these songs that way, as I find the extra sounds thrown in detract from the quality of the music.
     I'll share my thoughts on a couple of songs which moved me.
     "Rain" - The sounds in this song reminds me a LOT of "should I say yes" by NU SHOOZ. The mood of the song reminds me a little of "Runners". But these are just my associations...
     "You Read Me Wrong" - Kinda poppy - the music doesn't move me very much - I wish she'd re-do this with just a piano.
     "Steep" - A very sensuous song - my friend's favorite. Her voice reminds me a little of Tori here. The instrumental arrangement reminds me too much of early 80s "easy listening" though.
     "Vanessa's Father"—This is the song that got me hooked. The only instrument is a piano (yay!), and it's beautifully sensuous, and tells a very romantic, sad and happy story all at once. The story develops, twists and turns in very unexpected ways - I've never been pulled like this by a song except perhaps by Suzanne Vega's "Queen and the Soldier". If you hear only one song by her, hear this one!
     In summary, I'm glad I got a promo of her disc, because I wouldn't actually buy it if I was in the store (too many other things to buy first). However, some of her songs are quite pretty, and I hope I have a chance to see her live sometime. I also hope that she doesn't have to submit to major-record-label compromises for her next album. (ezust@brainwashed.com)


Breed

Release info:

1997

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Group members:

Lauren Christy—piano, vocals, backing vocals

Guest artists:

Bernie Barlow—backing vocals
Curt Bisquera—drums
Alison Clark—backing vocals
Gary Clark—bass, guitar, programming, backing vocals
Graham Edwards—bass, programming
Jim Lang—Hammond organ, Wurlitzer
David Palmer—drums
Dean Parks—guitar
Andy Scott—guitar, keyboards, programming
Nick Trevisick—guitar, programming
Denny Weston, Jr.—percussion

Produced by:

Lauren Christy, Gary Clark, Doll Factory, Tony Peluso, Andy Scott

Comments:

Now, she has this new, totally kick-ass album called Breed, that's well worth noting on ecto. It's a complete departure from her previous, self-entitled album, but it really works! Perhaps some of you may have heard her song, "breed," on the Batman and Robin soundtrack or you may have heard it on the radio. Much like her radio song, the rest of the album is rock based with pretty good vocals. I guess the bottom line is, I like the entire album, and you might like it too, so if you're feeling adventurous and want to try out some new music, check out "Breed." (jason@ea.oac.uci.edu)

Breed is incredible. her voice is amazing, the lyrics dark and deep, and absolute weaving music that stays in your head (i've had every song so far in mine). she plays the piano and writes her own stuff. (enzo1@idt.net)

Not impressed. Actually turned off by the title track and "I Want What I Want", which seem to be blatant only for shock value or to capture the Alanis Morissette market. However, the song "The Night I Saved Peter Ustinov" almost makes up for them, and would make a great pair with local Minneapolis singer-songwriter Marlee McLeod's "Me and Shelley Winters". (jjhanson@att.net)

I was at the Tower Records in Burbank, California carousing the listening stations when I came across Lauren's album, and it was love at first hearing. Being on a business trip at the time I had to wait till I got home to indulge in playing the whole album, and the suspense was driving me mad. The album is a bit heavy for my taste, Lauren's side-kick liking to show off his overdriven guitar a bit too much. But, her voice, oh, her voice, makes my socks melt. I love the little girl in her. (a figure of speech, of course; hold the feminist flames). Lauren's lyrics are whacky ("I got soil, I got seed / I got 21 god damn days until I bleed"), and the overdriven guitar in every track spoils the moment, but, her voice, oh, her voice. (bill@wagill.com)

Wickedly funny piss-take on the angry young woman genre. Who'd have known she had it in her? Worth walking through a rainstorm for. (beckwith@ime.net)


Thanks to julesette@delphi.com and nyxnight@aol.com for work on this entry.

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