Margaret McClure,
Tears for Jack
(independent, 2005)

Margaret McClure's album Tears for Jack features six songs ranging in styles from sophisticated MOR to electro-pop with a good few points covered in between.

Opener "Stay With Me" showcases the sultry vocals of the Californian perfectly. A sugary slice of Americana pie, the singer purrs out a plea to a lover, imploring him to stay with her for the night. McClure's intelligent lyrics -- "I'm not asking for a lifetime / One more night can't be a crime / I know what you're searching for / I have the truth you can't ignore" -- sometimes are right on the spot. But it's the voice delivering them that grabs you by the ears and melts you.

The trick is almost repeated on closer "The Story is Still the Same," with its piano-led accompaniment. Lovelorn lyrics and a relaxed late-night vibe seem to suit McClure's voice better than some of the other offerings on Tears for Jack. There is an electro-pop mix of the same song on the album that sounds like something you might hear in a European summer disco. I mean that as a bad thing, unfortunately. Maybe it's my age, but the magic of the sound is lost in the soulless tin din.

Elsewhere, the more straightforward rock approach of "Brick Wall" (with its jangling guitars) and "No Love Voodoo" are good, no-nonsense college radio workouts reminiscent of the Poppies or Juliana Hatfield in her early 1990s heyday.

Overall, Tears for Jack is a good album, a fine vehicle for the flexible talents of McClure as a writer and a performer.

by Sean Walsh
5 May 2007

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