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Purely enjoyable

Starlight Bungalow #37
Starlight Bungalow #37
By Julie Mack

Self-released: 2006

Buy it now


This review first appeared in the August 3, 2006 issue of the North County Times.

J

ulie Mack's first full-length CD reveals a singer-songwriter whose debut finds her fully developed as an artist: Smart, well-crafted songs that stick in your head; a voice that is simultaneously familiar and new; arrangements that complement both her voice and those songs; and a thick, full sound from the production team that gives this self-released album the polish of a major studio release.

The hope-filled opening track, "Slow Brew," sets the table for the entire album – hook-filled melody, memorable refrain ("Tea for you/coffee for me"), an acoustic arrangement that feels full. The piano, guitar and drums are so tightly interwoven the band sounds almost like a single instrument.

"Revolutionary Girl," the second track, is even more of a gem: Listen once, and it will run laps around your head for days. The third track, "Integrity," may be even more beguiling than the first two tracks. Then there's the title track, a beautiful love song, and you're left wondering how one songwriter you've never heard of can have created so many beautiful songs for one CD – and that wonder lasts for all 10 tracks here.

Yet despite the wonder of so many stunningly lovely songs on one album, the Encinitas singer's real strength is her voice. Gifted with a rangy soprano that can dip into the lower registers as well, she shows a range of delivery that runs from tender, even sentimental, to tough as nails, from folk to rock to touches of jazz. With a rich vibrato coupled to her naturally pure tone, Mack has an utterly unique sound to her vocals; no use comparing her to anyone else, she sounds like Julie Mack.

Match that voice up with those luscious songs she writes, and you've got something as purely enjoyable as it is moving.