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Breanne Duren

Sparks

(self-released; US: 3 May 2011; UK: 3 May 2011)

Would-be diva sounds like everybody else

Breanne Duren hopes to stake out diva territory with her five-song EP, Sparks. She can certainly sing, though her particular brand of little-girl vocal stylings won’t appeal to all listeners. Lead track “Gold Mine” is catchy enough, with her lilting voice trembling over a dense bed of keyboard and guitar and the requisite pounding snare. Unfortunately for Duren—and us—it’s the best song on the record, meaning it’s all downhill from there. “No One Else” is Vocoder hell, while “Catapult” comes off as generic dance-floor doggerel. “Daydreams” is equally by-the-numbers, right down to the tinkling keyboard intro. Closer “Summer Days” aims for sway-with-your-hand-in-the-air territory, and even succeeds to a degree. However, despite this semi-success, there’s nothing here compelling enough to convince anyone to take off that other record—whichever one you’ve got—and listen to this one instead.

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DAVID MAINE is a novelist and essayist. His books include The Preservationist (2004), Fallen (2005), The Book of Samson (2006), Monster, 1959 (2008) and An Age of Madness (2012). He has contributed to The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Esquire.com and NPR.com, among other outlets. He is a lifelong music obsessive whose interests range from rock to folk to hip-hop to international to blues. He currently lives in western Massachusetts, where he works in human services. Catch up with his blog, The Party Never Stops, at davidmaine.blogspot.com, or become his buddy on Facebook (or Twitter or Google+ or whatever you prefer) to keep up with reviews and other developments.


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