Review By Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck
Technology is truly amazing today for recording artists. The day of paying thousands for studio time is for the elite, the select few. Indie talent like Susannah Blinkoff team up with people like Rich Jacques to produce an entire album in his living room. The multi-talented Jacques also added backup vocals and played all the instruments with the exception of drums on a few tracks. I realize this is commonplace but it will always amaze me how this is done and in such a professional and convincing fashion.
Let's Pretend is a rock-pop album bright with energy and sweet rhythms led by a female voice that takes you prisoner for the length of the recording. Susannah has an articulate and sensual vocal style that fits the song selection well. Her tone is also very suitable for jazz as well so if for some reason she decided to take that path at some point I would not be surprised.
The first five tracks show Blinkoff in a good light, focusing on her compelling vocals backed by good music that is an effective blend of pop and rock for her style. "I Got Lucky" gets your motor running while "My Time Now" makes a personal statement. Both tracks should receive heavy airplay and I think be earmarked for singles. The following tracks maintain a similar level of consistency until she decides to cover Billy Joel's "Vienna." Unfortunately, I just covered the Legacy version of that album so I did not think this was a good choice for me to hear. I guess timing is everything. Her vocals have a distinct sedated feel to them, like everything changed to slow motion. That was the only stinker in the whole lot here as the next five tracks pick up where she left off with excellent vocals and music. "Be Alright" has a country-rock atmosphere with some smokin' guitar licks as the singer takes flight and follows the music as if she was meant to sing a song like this all along, it is absolutely one of the highpoints of the album. "Live On" also has a country-folk-rock thing going on and a very serious overtone that carries on through the entire run of the song. "The Storm Is Passing Over" sounds like an old spiritual passed down through the ages - it is one of the few tracks that Blinkoff did not actually write but she does a great job with it and makes it her own.
All of this proves what a great and versatile talent Susannah Blinkoff is. She nearly covers the extent of genres all in one album and leaves you feeling there is yet so much more to discover with her. This is a good thing for an artist trying to make her mark and gain new fans. This process should be a natural thing for this woman. The sky is the limit for someone with so much crossover ability.