Fire Note Says: Emily Bell’s debut showcases her confident soul.
Album Review: Austin’s Emily Bell has one of those voices that makes you instantly take notice with its confidence, power and sultry R&B undertone. On her debut, In Technicolor, Bell uses all of these traits to produce a record full of sass and attitude. It is a true combination of charisma and soul that carries this record as Bell’s commanding presence is hard to turn away from.
“Back To The Way” is the opening foot stomper on the record and for me it is easily the best track. It lets Bell’s strong vocals drive the song while the music has a sort of old school rhythm with a hint of rockabilly and country swing. This song will easily pull you in especially when the back-up singers chime in on the last third of the song. “Hey Baby” is next and the song brings back out a rockabilly backdrop but it is smothered in a sweet 1950’s type of singing and swaying from Bell. It is a track that could go either way for people and personally after just one listen it came off too planned with cuteness for me. This upbeat pop that is infused on In Technicolor seems to push too far for Bell’s own good because I think it takes away her raw vocal power. You can’t hum along to “Sweet Crushed Angel” and come out with Debbie Harry comparisons like her press release suggests because it does not capture enough of her swagger. This was a drawback for me a bit because I think Bell has that passion and spirit in her.
Weirdly enough the same type of “la la la’s” are employed on “Flower Bed” but here they don’t strike a negative nerve because they take a backseat to Bell’s soaring voice. This song proves my point as there is a real pop, almost cheerleader type sing-along midpoint that almost pushes the song too cute for its own good and is not needed. “Give Me Your Heart” has the same sort of retro vibe and beat but drops all of the harmonious sing-alongs and just lets Bell take you where she wants to. This is the best use of her voice and talent that is once again spotlighted on the closing “Love Don’t Hold Your Breath” as her sincerity shines through and locks the listener right into the lyrics.
In Technicolor is a decent debut but had too many pop elements integrated into the music for me to come back. The powerful “Back To The Way” is the style that Emily Bell should focus on because her voice and stage presence backs it up. I think Bell has a lot going on for her and honestly, In Technicolor could just be scratching the surface as her talent will be one to keep an eye on for the future.
Key Tracks: “Back To The Way”, “Love Don’t Hold Your Breath”, “Give Me Your Heart”
Artists With Similar Fire: KT Tunstall / Sparkle Moore / Lorrie Collins
Emily Bell Website
Emily Bell Facebook
-Reviewed by Christopher Anthony