Kathy Fleischmann,
Ten Doors Down
(Chess With Death, 1996)

I'm not sure what it was, but something did not sit right with me when I listened to this recording from New York singer-songwriter Kathy Fleischmann.

The first track, the aptly titled "Season of Long Rain," starts with a thunderstorm, which is a good thing, but the rest of the song is discordant and rather hard on the senses. Fleischmann has a nice voice, deep and full, but something is just missing, like she's not reaching her full potential. I think the songs she's written would benefit from better sound quality, for one thing. The songs themselves are unusual and don't do justice to the vocal talent she has.

"Russian Roulette" is a country song that is out of place among the moonlight sparkling of "Celestial Priority" and the floating fantasy of "Wild Strawberries." Rock 'n' roll breaks out in "On the Map" and the Pretenders-esque "Seasonally Speaking." It's a confusing and not entirely logical mix of songs -- many of which are too pushy, too strained.

To her credit, Fleischmann keeps her songs from sounding trite, even when she sings about boxes of moonlight and splitting hairs. The record actually gets better towards the end -- the songs become more natural, less strained. It would be interesting to see which direction her writing will take from the songs on this CD.

[ by Rachel Jagt ]

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