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Inside Scarlet Red CD Cover
Image © 1999 Velvet Ink Publishing/Records 

(08 April 2000) Las Vegas rock band Inside Scarlet released their debut album Red (Velvet Ink (USA) IS-0004, 1999) over a year ago but are gaining popularity via online listening forums. Fronted by Sharay Larsen (vocals, guitar) and Heather Tampa (vocals, bass), the traditional four-piece rock group also includes Mike Cromer (guitars) and Brian Festone (drums).

Chris Ripley wrote, "Inside Scarlet is one of the premiere local bands in Las Vegas. Their unique, yet distinctive sound sets them apart from the pack. When you hear and watch this band you get the feeling you will soon be paying high ticket prices to see them in a major venue or stadiums. Inside Scarlet is definately making a name for themselves in Las Vegas and certainly has the potential to become a major act in the music entertainment industry." A visit to the band's brilliantly designed website provides a peek into their style.

Inside Scarlet and their debut album Red continue to broaden the industry coverage of Musical Discoveries. The female vocal thread is clearly the major element of this group's music, but the tunes are largely harder, than other artists and albums reviewed at this website. Both Sharay and Heather are vocally very strong with their lead parts clearly driving the band's sound. Most of the album's songs rock in one way or another, some being more accessible than others. "Midnight" is a particularly memorable number with vocals far outweighing the supporting generally lighter-than-the-rest-of-the-album guitar-laced instrumentals.

Even the band's ballads have an edge. "Gently" is song evocatively yet powerful guitars provide a sharpness and rocking feel to the basic song construction. "Leap Of Faith" is similarly constructed. Contrast this with an almost-spoken vocal in "Stick," a track that would be comfortably placed in any one of the popular teen-oriented Warner Brothers' television shows. We found the vocal layers in "Summer Sky" especially sweet in the verses, illustrating a slightly softer side to the band's sound. "Fly" is filled with musical constradictions: here jazz, swing and rock all meld together with screaming guitars and sensuous vocals binding the song together. Lush guitar work dominates the instrumental riffs.

The title track that is meant to close the album is one of two that highlight it. Listen to the two vocalists sing this lovely duet together over acoustic and electric guitar, with instrumentals that build up as the song develops. The second part of the song, equally accomplished in its construction is sung by the two vocalists over exotic acoustic and electric guitar, bass and the lightest percussion. The vocals and instrumental work in this track are lovely—the best on the album.

Full songs can be downloaded from Inside Scarlet's mp3.com website. You can read further reviews, hear further soundbites and order Inside Scarlet's album Red at amazon.com here. The band's debut album Red is filled with contrasts and as a live act the group are certainly worthy of further exploration. See the band perform if you get to Las Vegas. Distinctly more rocking than many of the albums reviewed here, it will appeal to a broad audience. It is indeed a nice listen.

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