(09 October 2001) Michelle Tumes has returned with an
all new album entitled Dream (Sparrow Records (USA),
Fans of the golden-voiced Australian singer may be somewhat
suprised by the slightly different approach that Michelle
has taken with her third full-length release.
Many of the tracks on her first album Listen were
melodically, vocally, and instrumentally closer in sound
to the more ethereal stylings of Máire Brennan and Enya.
Michelle's second album, Center of My Universe,
saw the artist move in a more pop-friendly direction,
while maintaining a hint of otherworldliness.
On Dream Michelle has worked with new producers
Scott Erickson and Doug Beiden to create a uplifting
pop/dance set complete with D.J. scratches (provided
by Jesse Shacklock), vocoder emulation (a la Madonna),
and orchestra-synth strikes—think Britney Spears'
"Baby, One More Time." In addition, the multi-layered
harmonic vocal tracking that was so much a part of her
first two albums has largely been abandonned for a
more distinct and assertive single vocal melodic
Fortunately, Michelle Tumes' greatest strength has
always been her talent for writing exceptionally catchy
hooks; and the collection of songs on Dream once
again reflect that talent. Most of Dreams ten
tracks fall squarely within the cateogry of pure pop.
But, what separates this album from the ubiquitous
legion of radio-ready pre-fab cd's currently on the
charts is Michelle's skilled singing, personal lyrics,
and clever and enlivening arrangements. In truth, a
listen to Dream leaves one feeling a little
better about the world and everyone living therein.
The opening title track begins with a soothing
guitar intro overlayed with children's voices.
The serenity of these opening phrases, however, is
quickly altered by a break-beat drum track and
percolating bass-synth. Michelle's voicings are
particularly soulful and driving. The energetic
chorus ultimately makes for a vibrant song that
would be well-received on any dance floor. Other
tracks like "The Light," and "There Goes My Love"
maintain this encouraging, "get out of your seat
and dance" vibe.
"One and Only," one of the album's standout tracks,
features a hand-clapping gospel choir, tin whistle,
racing strings, and wah wah guitars—all to wonderful
effect. "Image of" presents a powerful and affirming
messageregarding the intrinsic worth of each human
being. To her credit, Michelle is able to deliver a
relevant spiritual message without sounding preachy
or overwrought—not to mention the fact that that
message is accompanied by a lovely melody.
The majestic and serene "God of My Hope" is really
the only song that recalls the mood of "Listen." Dense,
sweeping strings accentuate Michelle's delicate and
worshipful voice. Indeed, the highest compliment
among those many that might be paid to Michelle
Tumes is that she combines real musicianship with
sincerity. As a result, her music always manages
to be both emotionally and aurally compelling.
It is a pleasure to review Michelle Tumes' latest
Further information, photographs and
soundbites are available at the artist's
Order the album from amazon.com
here. Certainly worth a cross country journey,
Michelle Tumes' new album is a must listen!--Justin