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While this website has become known for its in-depth album and concert reviews, the digest contains concise comments on new music our audience has either recommended or might enjoy. Click on album covers or label names for links to further information. Click on the title to view the article.

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Twilight CD Cover
Image Pioneer Entertainment 2000

Image Pioneer Entertainment 2000

The Race of a Thousand Camels CD Cover
Image Polystar (Japan) 1999

Image Pioneer Entertainment 2000

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Concert Review

(09 August 2002) The debut album from British band Boa is an 11-track project entitled The Race Of A Thousand Camels (Polystar (Japan) PSCR-5688, 1998). With three bonus tracks added, the album was released as Twilight (Pioneer (USA) PIO-CD-5153-2, 2001), following the success of their cult hit single "Duvet." The track is the opening theme to the Serial Experiments Lain anime series. Remixes of "Duvet" have done very well in several territories.

Disturbing, perplexing, sometimes infuriating, Ryutaro Nakamura's Serial Experiments Lain covers some of the same themes as The X-Files and the films of David Lynch. When introverted 13-year-old Lain receives an e-mail from a dead classmate, she gains access to "the Wired," a virtual world that promises unlimited power to those who can exploit it. Gradually the borders between the real and the virtual blur, and Lain's own identity begins to fade and fragment. Her parents tell her that she is not really their child, her online self grows in power and independence, and shadowy organizations pursue her in both worlds. Finally she begins to realize that she is either reality's only hope, or its worst enemy. Edgy alternative rock music like Boa's has was the perfect choice for the series' opening theme.

Fronted by stunning lead vocalist Jasmine Rodgers, Boa's lineup is completed by Steve Rodgers (vocals, guitar), Ben Henderson (guitar, sax, percussion), Paul Turrell (piano, keyboards, string arrangements, guitar, percussion), Alex Caird (bass) and Lee Sullivan (drums). The Rodgers are Bad Company's Paul Rodgers' siblings. Lee Sullivan is son of Renaissance drummer Terry Sullivan who introduced our editorial staff to Boa. And Alex Caird played bass for Renaissance on their Tuscany album. The lineup has changed since the album's release. Details are available at the band's website.

The Race Of A Thousand Camels opens with the melancholy verses of "Fool." Listeners will immediately be drawn to the powerful vocal energy of Jasmine Rodgers and the guitar-laden arrangements of this bluesy rocker. The soaring vocals that explore the singer's emotional range are immediately striking. The rhythmic haunting melody of "Twilight" continues to illustrate the vocalist's talent, contrasting evocative sweetness with sonic enthusiasm through tempo and style changes--it must be a wonderful track to see performed in concert.

The heartfelt, upbeat and accessible rocker "Duvet" blends rich instrumental arrangements and crisp percussion with a tender lead vocal line gently soaring across Jasmine's range in the chorus. Gentle guitar solos in the short instrumental bridge are matched with the softly sung vocalise layers. Rich and rocking electric guitar rhythms provide the musical foundation in "Rain" with layered vocals that add texture to the sound. Stunning string arrangements that perfectly compliment Jasmine's searching vocal make "Elephant," like "Duvet," a standout.

Raunchy guitar sounds are constrasted by further string arrangements in the rocking tunes "Scoring" and "Deeply" which continue to explore Jasmine's range of vocal styles varying from her gentlest to the most powerful and sonically evocative. "One Day," richly arranged with guitar-laden arrangements and lush keyboards and strings supporting, is the one track sung exclusively by Steve Rodgers--a very good male vocalist.

Jasmine's voice is well suited for the edgy and bluesy singer-songwriter ballad "Welcome." Strings perfectly blend with guitar, bass and crisp percussion once again providing the perfect foundation for the lead vocal--another album standout. Contrasting vocal styles in "For Jasmine" are supported by corresponding lush keyboard arrangements and differing agressive electric guitar styles. The album concludes with "Anna Maria," an upbeat Mexican dance-oriented number (think maracas) full of lush acoustic and electric guitar solos, piano and crisp percussion complimenting Jasmine's tenderly sung vocal.

Read further reviews, listen to soundbites and order the album from amazon.com here. Our editors have been listening to Boa's music for almost four years now. Clearly worth a trans-Atlantic journey, these albums--as many of the band's new enthusiasts have shown--are clearly a must listen!

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