Tom Mank &
Sera Jane Smolen,
Conversations in Waves
(self-produced, 2001)

I was captivated by the very title of this CD, it just sounds so poetic. I had never heard of the performers before and I approached it with great curiosity. Would the product live up to the promise of the title? Yes, it does.

The title track is a very witty report on love and couples and dating, and it reminds me of the other song with a similar title, Paul Simon's "Angling Conversations." "Conversation in waves, breaking everywhere, people laughing and falling in love." "Hearts and Souls" is another beautiful song celebrating the everyday things of life. It shows the writer to be a very observant and interested being: "Clothes lines are always dancing along the alleyways."

Interspersed with these love songs of the 21st century are some beautiful instrumental pieces, which are always more difficult for a reviewer to do justice to. In general I can only say how these pieces sound to me, and on this CD they are well crafted and beautifully played.

Love lost is the theme of "Always Roses" and it will strike a chord with anyone who has been dumped, however sensitively it was done. One person falls out of love while the other remains encoiled and hopes against hope for a new chance. "It's always roses when I see you, I can't stop the way I feel."

"Going to New York" is song of longing, longing to settle. "Waiting For the Sky to Break" has me puzzled. It is a very good song but it appears to weave a very dark strand into its romance. "As I approached the hill, wishing I wasn't trained to kill" and " I'm thinking of all the love we'll make" are starting and ending lines.

This is a very good album with a nice blend of song and instrumental pieces. Some of the songs are worthy of a wider audience and could, with the right spark, become standard love songs.

[ by Nicky Rossiter ]
Rambles: 13 April 2002