Kate Voegele – Don’t Look Away
MySpace Records (01/22/08)
Pop / Rock / Folk
One online reviewer called Kate Voegele’s release a little Sheryl Crow but a lot more Michele Branch. It’s a perfect way to sum up Don’t Look Away.
There seems to be a cycle to the singer/songwriter genre—it comes in waves. There’s nothing for a few years, then a bunch all at once, then another lull. And like with all things, there’s a handful of truly talented singers, and more than a few misses that caught a break riding the latest wave. Hindsight being what it is, in a couple of years we’ll be left with the good ones (that’s called staying power) and the rest will fall by the wayside (into oblivion).
Getting back to Voegele: Much like the aforementioned Branch, she’s a young talent with a respectable amount of ability to back up the pretty voice (she not only plays guitar, but also wrote all of her songs). And as a younger singer, rather than focusing her music toward a teen fan base, Voegele’s style drifts more toward an adult-contemporary mindset. (Think Mandy Moore’s more mature, recent offerings as opposed to her earlier career.)
Don’t Look Away shoots out of the gate with melody and catchy hooks, and never seems to let up. With a voice that betrays her 22 years, Voegele commands attention from the album opener (the demanding “Chicago”) and carries the rest of the album with authority through to the end (check out the vocal freestyling at the end of the piano ballad “Kindly Unspoken”).
And it’s near impossible to shuttle Voegele into one style. Sure, it’s basically pop-rock, but there are other elements in there, too. Voegele works some soul (“Devil in Me” and “Kindly Unspoken”), hints of country (“I Won‘t Disagree”), and a little bit of folk (“Wish You Were”) into her vocal delivery.
An impressive debut for this singer/songwriter, Don’t Look Away shines as bright as her contemporaries in this latest wave (like Sara Bareilles). Easy and enjoyable to listen to, there’s a little bit of something for everyone on this album. Everything is catchy enough to keep you wanting more, and the music is actually good enough that it doesn’t get old or boring at all throughout the entire set. This is one of the best singer/songwriter albums to be released this year (so far).