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Rachel Sage, Public Record (Mpress)
Rachel Sage's fifth album is, at times, a bit too precious for its own good. Something about her voice reminds one of Jewel, and that's not always a good thing. Of course, Jewel doesn't come up with the strange poetry-jazz fusions such as "Beauty Fades" and "Back to Freedom", the two best songs on Public Record. Listening to this makes one feel like Sage wants to be every popular female songstress in the large lexicon of the past ten or so odd years. The opening track, "What If", was supposedly recorded in one take with a Doors influence. It doesn't sound like it at all, though Sage's lyrical ramblings can often become as grating as Morrison's at his worst. Then there's Sage's voice, which moans and groans all too often as the words slip out of her mouth. Her piano playing is moody and a sense of strained sensuality envelops every song, making Public Record predictable by the time the second song, "Too Many Women", has played. Decent, but hardly a keeper in a female singer-songwriter genre that has already been dulled by its more famous contemporaries.