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Christina - 'Broken Lives And Bleeding Hearts' Hot

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Written by James Gaden     August 24, 2010    
 
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Magenta vocalist's solo album.

The Christina in question is no less a person than Christina Booth who should be a familiar name to our readership thanks to her role as the voice of the wonderful Magenta. With that in mind, and the fact that the songs are Rob Reed creations, it goes without saying that this album has many Magenta sentiments, such as sublime melodies and choruses, and could very easily have been released under their name. However, what this album does highlight is the sheer versatility of Booth’s voice as she gets to show that she can turn her hand to more styles than the one we have come to know and love her for in the day job.
The album opens with ‘Free’ which has a keyboard loop, a Jazz-lite shuffle and a typically memorable chorus. Reed plays some lovely guitar motifs low in the mix and executes a fine solo. Just to give it a twist the song closes with a Gospel Choir. ‘Way Back To My Heart’ takes us into a Blues / Jazz feel and features a truly wonderful chorus where Christina sings the basic line and, I assume, her sister Fran does a delightful call back. ‘Deep Oceans’ employs a kind of techno loop together with a lush bass (Reed again) to provide a great platform for a very pleasing song which has a fine swagger. The closing guitar solo, courtesy of John Mitchell (It Bites etc.), has a hint of Weather Report about it.
‘Hanging By A Thread’ changes the pace with the acoustic guitar refrain complementing Booth’s fabulous vocal delivery to perfection, whilst ‘Tales Of Broken Hearts’ has opening verses that are a thing of great beauty. The arrangement of piano and drum machine is so simple but so effective that it provides that goosebumps moment. ‘Helen’s Song’ is yet another track with an infectious chorus whilst the following ‘Down To The River’ changes the atmosphere significantly with its acerbic feel and some real edge. Reed may be renowned as a keyboard player but here he delivers some fabulous guitar and bass playing. ‘Do Or Die’ features more lovely bass as it alternates cool, relaxed verses with a more energetic chorus. John Mitchell is again on hand to impart a fine solo whilst the backing vocals are absolutely beautiful.
‘Reel Life’ is probably the track most closely aligned to the Magenta sound with its nice orchestral arrangement, although there’s a pleasing change to a Jazz-lite instrumental section. ‘Immortality’ is the epic sounding number to close the album which starts with a drum machine pattern that brings Genesis (‘Duke’ era) and Phil Collins to mind. It’s a delightful song that’s drenched in melody in which the vocal arrangement is splendid. Add Steve Balsamo’s (The Storys) inimitable vocals to the mix and you have an absolute winner. For good measure the song concludes with the evocative Uillean Pipes of Troy Donockely, which rounds out the song nicely. There’s an alternative version of ‘Deep Oceans’ as the final track, notable because it’s been remixed by Jem Godfrey (Frost*).
Magenta fans will love this album and those with an ear for classy female vocalists will also find this most pleasureable.
Gary Marshall
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