Diane Birch: Speak A Little Louder
For Diane Birch’s second album, she brings a more contemporary, darker sound to the table. After feeling misunderstood by the reception to her ’70s singer/songwriter-influenced debut, Bible Belt, Birch’s new effort shows off more of her range and influences. To be clear, the smokiness in her voice remains, and she can’t help but escape her penchant for Joni Mitchell and Carol King’s approach to melody and lyrics. But with Dap-Kings drummer Homer Steinweiss at the helm of a majority of the productions, the songs have a fresh, soulful style.
Though the songs are more eclectic and personal, I can’t help but feel they’re also more boring and forgettable. Her voice and musical approach is better suited for the more intimate acoustic tracks than the overblown, Florence + The Machine-style reverb. And as I work through the 11 tracks of the album, I keep finding myself just wanting it to be over. Speak A Little Louder is definitely not a bad album, but its overabundance of mid-tempos and ballads, and its gloomy production take away a lot of the life and excitement that the songs could have.