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Alicia Dara


Country of origin:

U.S.

Type of music generally:

Alternative pop

Status:

Most recent release, The Secret Dream of Tigers (2008)

See also:

Alicia Dara's site

Comparisons:

Aimee Mann, Laura Nyro, Tori Amos, Margie Adam

Covers/own material:

Own

General comments:

Alicia Dara's makes lively and haunting pop, alternating between ballads and rockers. The artist whose vocals and style she most closely resembles to my ear is Aimee Mann, though her sound and vocals are overall a little more mainstream. (sophiagurley@hotmail.com)

While Alchemy is the only one of Dara's several albums I've heard, what I heard on it bodes well for what one would hear on the others. She's one of the most interesting artists I've reviewed for the Guide recently. (mapravat@prairienet.org)

Recommended first album:

Alchemy

Recordings:


Toys

Release info:

1999—Stegosaurus Records

Availability:

See Alicia Dara's site

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Group members:

Alicia Dara—vocals, acoustic, electric, slide guitars, frame drum

Guest artists:

Kirki Jamieson—bass, fretless bass, drums, percussion
Mary Shokes—violin

Produced by:

Alicia Dara and Kirk Jamieson

Comments:

An intriguing album of alternative pop. While it's not wholly original, her musical and vocal styles are strong and her songwriting shows a lot of promise. Recommended. (sophiagurley@hotmail.com)

Alchemy

Release info:

2001—Stegosaurus Records

Availability:

See Alicia Dara's site

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Alicia Dara—acoustic, electric, slide guitars, piano, keyboards, tim whistle, flutes, toy xylophone, riq, tambourine, wine glasses, mallet bongos, koto guitar, bells, vocals

Guest artists:

Kirk Jamieson—bass, drums
David Dubois—bass
Brian Ray—shivery guitar, gospel vocal
Nathan Harrison—cello, string arrangements
Kerry Downing—viola
Aaron Yakov—double bass
Brad Purkey—programming, guitar swells

Produced by:

Alicia Dara and Brad Purkey

Comments:

At the beginning of the album, my impression of it was middling; but very soon I became more and more impressed with it. On most of the tracks (which include a couple of brief instrumental pieces), but not all, the accompaniment is piano-based; I detected degrees of overlap with the music of Laura Nyro (whose influences can also be heard in the music and lyrics of other tracks), Tori Amos, Margie Adam and, to a lesser degree, Pepper McGowan. Some tracks have significant World Music influences, ranging from South American folk music (think Simon and Garfunkel's "El Condor Pasa"), to Japanese, to Indian. I found some lyrics more imaginative than others, but overall they were of very high quality. The best ones were, indeed, quite superb. An undercurrent of nonreligious (or at the very least, nondenominational) spirituality is perceptible in many of the tracks. Inconveniently, there are no lyrics included with the CD; they are only available on Dara's website, where a number of proofreading errors (typos, and lines out of sequence) can be detected. But that doesn't make them any less worth booting up your computer for. (mapravat@prairienet.org)

The Secret Dream of Tigers

Release info:

2008—Chroma—CSCD105

Availability:

See Alicia Dara's site

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Group members:

licia Dara—vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, tambourine, toy piano

Guest artists:

Johnny Sangster—guitar (2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 13); bass (13)
Andy Stoller—bass (2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 10)
Dave Brogan—drums (2, 3, 7, 8)
Jason Staczek—organ (2, 8, 9, 10, 11); accordion, farfisa (3); piano (3, 4, 6, 8), 11; vibes (4); Rhodes (5); synthesizers (7); guitar (10); tambourine (10); bass (11)
Derek Brown—double bass (4)
David Stern—drums (4, 12)
Mia Boyle, Fia McGann—backing vocals (4, 13)
Ian Moore—guitar (5, 10, 11); backing vocals (5); electric sitar (1)
Carlos Suarez Del Real—guitar (6)
Matthew Burgess—percussion (6)
Mike Musburger—drums (6, 12)<
Stingshark—guitar (7)

Produced by:

Jason Staczek and Alicia Dara>

Comments:

Pretty, yet strong. Alicia Dara has an almost classically pretty voice with a touch of smoke in it which balances nicely against the lively instrumentation here. As per the comments on her previous album, this is an album that grows on you. favourite tracks here are the haunting "Black Muddy River," the literary "Isobel Archer," and a rocker, "The Bowery." The album is definitely worth checking out—recommended for all pop fans. (sophiagurley@hotmail.com)


Thanks to Sophia Gurley and Mitch Pravatiner for work on this entry.

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DISCLAIMER: Comments and reviews in the Ectophiles' Guide are excerpted from the ecto mailing list or volunteered by members of the list. They are the opinions of music enthusiasts, not professional music critics.

Entry last updated 2010-08-30 00:49:55.
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