Christina - 'The Light'

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Christina - 'The Light'

Whatever style you ascribe to, this is a splendid album.

One would be forgiven for thinking that Christina Booth's second solo album would be a particularly maudlin affair when considering it was made against a backdrop of her battle against cancer and what I believe was the passing of both parents. However, whilst the lyrical content may be reflective of these considerable trials and tribulations, musically it's not downbeat or depressing; far from it in fact as there are any number of lovely melodies on offer.

Her supporting cast includes her Magenta band mates and notably Rob Reed who provided the tunes (which are wonderful), produced and mixed the album; he's done a terrific job all round. Other contributors are the ubiquitous John Mitchell, Andy Tillison (The Tangent) and Theo Travis.

The album opens with 'Full Stop' which has a simple start with a slow electric piano refrain and voice on the verse before the tempo increases on the chorus as the other instruments join in. I can't help think of Randy Crawford (The Crusaders) on the chorus. Being churlish, the repeated outro is overly long.

'Stay' builds nicely, this time with piano setting the scene albeit with some delightful orchestration fleshing out the sound. I'm not a big fan of saxophone but Travis's sax and flute accentuations are very pleasing here. 'Legend In The Making' has a different feel with a modern edgy guitar chord heralding the initial dark theme; this is soon replaced with something more traditional and lighter. The chorus is one that's become stuck in my head.

'Disappeared' has a mournful piano refrain which, if my interpretation of the lyrics is correct (the failing memory of a loved one), is hardly surprising. This song has a quality that means it wouldn't be out of place in a West End musical. It's a beautiful piece. 'When The Darkness Falls' has an Annie Haslam's Renaissance feel on the verse and the chorus puts me in mind of a James Bond theme. Again, Reed's orchestration is splendid and reinforces that filmic quality.

'The Anger In Your Words' is another track that builds, Tillison providing some subtle Hammond Organ and then either Chris Fry or Mitchell, or indeed both, adding a short but sweet guitar solo at the end. 'The Same Old Road' is a beautiful ballad on which Christina excels vocally and which Reed's music complements perfectly.

'Last Breath' is up-tempo with a bouncy feel which belies the lyrical theme, I particularly like the vocal arrangement and little burst of Hammond Organ. The title track closes out the album in optimistic fashion and, again, the melody is wonderful and the orchestration terrific.

Whatever style you ascribe to, this is a splendid album.

Gary Marshall

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