My God This Is Poor
I always try and get a second opinion on albums that stink just in case it's just myself being closed minded and subjective. Thankfully my second opinion agreed that Lauren Harris' debut ablum 'Calm Before The Storm' is a pretty dreadful attempt at creating exciting modern rock. For those not in the know, Lauren Harris is the daughter of Iron Maiden's Steve Harris, and if story has it, she was spotted in 2005 by legendary producer Russ Ballard who didn't know who she was. And it's who she is that gets her regular opening slots on Iron Maiden world tours and their top producer to twiddle his knobs in the stuido. My opinion is, good for her. The music business is difficult enough as it is, but if you can get a foot up, no matter how high, then I think you should take it. The fact that her debut album is as weak as American tea (and yes, I've tasted it), has nothing to do with it.
Of course it is who she is that has thousands of fans giving her the time of day another singer wouldn't normally receive. It wasn't as if I was expecting to hear her giving a souring rendition of 'Aces High' or 'Hallowed Be Thy Name', but I was expecting something with a little more grit and balls than this. Opening your debut album with a cover is never a good start because it speaks volumes about the original material (one of 3 covers on this album). Lauren does give Gun's 'Steal Your Fire' a good stab, and is the best tune on this disc by some way. As soon as that resurrected gem is over we're into the original material. If you're not an angst filled teenager angry at mummy and daddy that they wont let you stay out until 10pm, then you'll be hiding behind your fingers in embarrassment occasionally peering your fingers to find out which track you're on.
My second opinion summed it up as 'pop music heavied up slightly' and I think this hits the proverbial nail on the head. This isn't rock music, it's pop with guitars ala McFly and all the other half assed rock shite that pollutes our airwaves and makes lots of cash for people in suits in boardrooms. Apart from the weediness of the music, which is like a diluted version of Avril Lavigne having a pillow fight with The Donnas, the lyrics are an equal embarrassment. For example;
"You said you like me but when you met her
She's was perfectly sweet and you liked her better
She's was of that, and you let us know it
But she's holding something back and she's gonna blow it."
"You've gone way too far and you're in too deep
Thinking you're a star, dunno how you sleep
You'd better get ready, better run for the door"
She's either hit and miss
But she's got it right
Protected by her innocence
She's out of sight
They reek of a 14 year-old girl scribbling lyrics in the back of her school books. They make The Donnas sound like they're singing something prophetic, which is saying something. However, not every album is without merit. 'From The Bottom To The Top' is an indication of the potential of Lauren Harris. Her deep voice suits this dark mellow tune rather than the saccharin filled girl-meets-boy bollocks of tracks such as 'Get Over It' and 'Your Turn'.
Her voice is an interesting talking point. On the whole she proves she can sing, but that's where it ends. Her voice isn't exactly powerful, nor characteristic, and singing songs such as 'Come On Over' and 'Hit Or Miss' doesn't really suit her. I get the feeling that Lauren could wow the world by dropping the teenage shite in her music and incorporating a darker (not necessarily heavier) element to her music. I just don't think she cuts it as a pop/rock singer.
Even with everything seemingly on a plate, top producers, mixers, musicians, writers, 'Calm Before The Storm' is a huge disappointment. The phrase 'could've done better' springs to mind. But she seems to be gaining a legion of fans who like where she's coming from so who am I to say? I guess I'm too old to understand, I just worry that there's an unpolished gem here that'll go undiscovered because critics are blindingly lauding praise upon her because of who she is rather than listening to the music she and her band are producing. As much as I love Iron Maiden I can't offer the same to this album not matter how hard I try.