When dealing with indie product, reviewers often walk a thin line. On one hand, one wants to be as supportive as possible; after all, independent releases are more often than not a labour of love. But the whole point of a review is to assist potential consumers decide whether a given disc is worth checking out, and ultimately whether it's deserving of a music lover's hard-earned dollars.
I tried to like Bellinia's disc. I really did. But I simply have no appetite for cheesy 80's synth-pop with lifeless arrangements that sound as though they were produced on first-generation home recording software.
To be sure, Bellinia has a powerful voice and could well be a dynamic performer were the material worthy of her talents. She's got a raw sensuality that holds occasional appeal. She's effective indeed on the lone ballad, the sweetly melodic "When You Don't Want To Be There," that provides a somewhat redeeming finish to proceedings. But hearing her over-the-top rendition of "Voodoo Chile" robs her of much good will; it's nothing short of painful. (Although it does give guitarist Don Griffin, in his only appearance, a chance to prove he's a pretty fine follower of Hendrix).
That's the disc's only cover, though, with the remainder of the tunes written by Bellinia herself. Some show [promise, but are all too often buried under layers of synthesized sound. There's a competent band at work, though, so the fault lies in the arrangements.
Were Bellinia to attempt a blues recording, there's every possibility she could pull it off. But turgid, dated pop music isn't likely to send her career soaring.
Bellinia / Dopey Records
PO Box 26 Caledonia, Il. 61011-0026 USA
E-Mail : inquiries@bellinia .cm
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