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Andrea Wittgens
In The Skyline

Review By Steven Stone

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  Andrea Wittgens' guileless vocals and cheeky lyrics make her latest effort as effervescent as a bottle of Dr. Pepper opened at 9000 feet. With musical compositions that combine the energy of early punk with the slickness of modern pop she creates music that is perfect for now.

Wittgens started her career in Seattle, playing in bars around Pioneer Square in the evenings while working her day job at Microsoft. She soon formed the band Sugartown. The band released two CDs between 2000 and 2005, and when it seemed to have gone as far as it could she left to pursue a solo career. In October 2006 Wittgens released Alibi, which received much critical acclaim and garnered her national attention. She toured throughout the US during the next couple of years, including clubs such as the Knitting Factory and the Bitter End.

This brings us to In The Skyline. All twelve original songs feature a relaxed natural approach coupled with theatrical edge. The overall mood is quirky yet polished in a way that's quite alien from a typical singer/songwriter album. Wittgens' sensibility is closer to Tori Amos than Nancy Griffith. Songs such as "Creature Feature" have a pop sparkle as well as a level of musical sophistication that mixes various genres in a uniquely cohesive manner. Multiple time signatures, key changes, and occasionally dense orchestrations make each song an aural journey rather than merely another pop ditty.

Co-produced by Bob Power, guitarist Vincent Gates, and Wittgens, the album was recorded in several different studios, but all the tunes share a similarly rich aural palette. Liberal use of mellotrons, farfisas and live string quartets adds a degree of sonic depth designed to make every tune special. If you're expecting another singer's showcase or song driven album, In The Skyline will come as a surprise. It accomplishes something that few contemporary albums achieve a cohesive and unique musical statement that defies labels and simple descriptions.

 

 

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