Robin DeLorenzo: Wanna Fly – CD Review
Robin DeLorenzo is based in New Jersey, USA. She’s a singer/songwriter who describes herself as gutsy emotional and undeniable (on her website), which I have to admit had me quite curious as to what I was about to hear.
Her 35 minute debut CD entitled “Wanna Fly” was released in 2010 and begins with “I’d Change for You” The intro to this song, very cleverly lures you in with a bluesy acoustic guitar and heavily reverbed vocal, but before you think its going to go all Delta on you, you’re hit with a very modern sounding pop production including sampled overdriven guitar and filtered synthesizers. There are so many instruments flying in and out of the sound that it becomes a real onslaught of the senses with a maelstrom of different styles and genres making their mark. Robin’s voice is powerful and dominant, holding the piece together as being the only constant. Bizarrely, the song fades far too quickly and there is virtually no gap before the next song, the title track kicks in. This piece really shows off the talent of DeLorenzo as she performs some incredible vocal acrobatics. The Joplin influence seems very apparent here as the power and energy is delivered with passion and determination. The texture is exquisite and in perfect pitch, expertly counterbalanced with sublime guitar work from Dan Natelli. The third song “Soul Fire” edges further towards pure blues, including slide, acoustic guitar and bluesy lead, which is further augmented with harmonica and Hammond organ. The fifth song “Middle of the Day” shows a more sensitive side to Robin, as she serves up an accomplished ballad based around Ratner’s Piano. This is a breath of fresh air after all the energy of the previous material. There are some wonderful, well placed harmony vocals positioned effectively in the bridges and choruses of this song. Track 8 has the curiously acidic title “Screw U” and this fast paced country style tune features banjo sounds together with brass. An upright bass sound keeps the beat moving and the picking on the banjo adds in extra country flavour. Robin seems a little angry in this song (no shit!) but there is definitely an element of humour in the lyrics too, which helps take the edge off it all. The final track “Not for all the Money” is a slow ballad in 3-4 time which rounds off the album nicely – it slows the pace down beautifully. Again the country influence is very apparent and the song finishes with a nicely rounded ending instead of a fade.
The album relies heavily on the talents of Lisa Ratner, to provide the backdrop for Robin’s superb vocal, and whilst her performances are unquestionable, her choice of sound samples unfortunately is. There really is no question about the benefits of using real instruments over synthesized sounds. Where a synth is used to create a unique sound or mimic a keyboard instrument such as piano or organ these generally work well, however brass instruments and banjos stand out as being fake, and that’s a shame. Likewise with programmed drums, which never really come close in comparison to having a real drummer and all the subtle forms of expression he/she can bring to the recording.
That said, the songs are full of colour and the album stands out as an impressive debut for this very talented and expressive singer-songwriter. There are shades of Cher and Raitt in amongst these vocal performances and if you are a fan of modern country-influence female vocalists this could be a great addition to your collection. Her style of writing provides for some interesting lyrics and imagery. If this outfit can build upon the success of this album I’m sure that only great things lie ahead. I would be interested to hear any follow-up release from this artist and with a solid rhythm section and some further developed ideas this act could become a real force to be reckoned with.
Check out “Wanna Fly” from this bluesy and gutsy singer at her site, www.robind.com. Find reviews of other up and coming indie artists at the Indie Music Digest.
This review was written by Neil Thomas for the Rock n Roll View.