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March 16, 2005

{     Inara George - All Rise     }    

There's something effortlessly sophisticated about Inara George's breathy intonation and off-kilter delivery; her debut recording, All Rise, is not only one of the more palatable albums I've heard in a while, but also one of the most refreshing. It carries a certain comfortable familiarity, as though Ms. George had laced her words with some sort of emotional deja vu. This album sounds like how my life feels. Producer Michael Andrews is certainly owed some of the credit for this- as composer of scores for the film Donnie Darko and the TV series Freaks and Geeks, he's mastered the ability of soundtracking life's ups and downs. Andrews sets the perfect stage for Ms. George's vocal talents, smartly threading melodies around her voice, capturing even her softest whispers. This subtle sonic embroidery proves essential to the album's success- it would have been very easy to allow her voice to dominate All Rise, resulting in a tepid Topanga Canyon-style cabaret, or to let the instrumental track blare over the nuances of her delivery. Thankfully, we're spared such heavy-handedness, and the results are sublime. There's a fairly incredible range of material here as well- from the jaunty (almost Shins-like) "Genius" and "Turn On/Off" to the loungey "A Day" and the folked-up cover of Joe Jackson's "Fools In Love", All Rise covers a lot of ground. George's vocals at times call to mind old-school Natalie Merchant, at others a young Astrud Gilberto. It's cosmopolitan without being pretentious, organic without sounding earthy and modern without being obtuse or inaccessible. A very impressive debut indeed.

     » Official Inara George website
     » Everloving Records


'All Rise' is the most worthwhile thing released for a long long time.
Genuinely brilliant.

I agree with the points made in the review.
The balance between song, performance and production is so well controlled.
At last, a musical event that is not reliant upon cosmetics, gimmicks and past reputations.

Music is all too often relegated to being an accompaniment to other activities.
The challenge is to allow time and space in your own life to fully appreciate worthy offerings as this these days.

Well done, Inara, for making music that deserves total attention again.

Posted by: flowerbed at March 30, 2005 12:46 PM
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