Jade Raven - "In The Dark"

I was very happy the first time I heard this CD. Jade Raven’s debut release had a first-listen impact on me that fairly well knocked my socks off. A few listens later, the glow is still there, and I'm quite enjoying it.

In the Dark is a very worthwhile release for any fan of that dog., The Glitter Kicks, or Lushbox.

Holly King's vocals are wonderfully melodic, and she shows more range that your average pop-rock singer.

Her vocal acrobatics rival that of teen-pop sensation Christina Aguilera at times, especially on "That’s A Fact," wherein her voice goes from typical rock lyrics to a more melodic lyrical approach. "That’s A Fact" is also one of the disc’s strongest works, as are the rest of the more upbeat songs.

That’s my only serious beef with this album. Jade Raven does a fine job at the more upbeat tempo’d tunes, but the slower pieces lack the impact of the poppy guitars and bouncing basslines.

The slower songs do a better job of showcasing King’s voice, but they don’t have quite the same fun aspect that the other songs have. It’s almost as if the slower songs belong on their own seperate album, as they have more of a singer/songwriter feel to them.

The slow tunes are also a better fit for drummer Hiegert. The faster tunes (especially "That’s A Fact" and "Funky Feeling") are almost at times hobbled by his drumming, which doesn't quite seem to keep up with the guitar and bass.

The upbeat songs are all quite well done, and the bass and guitar move them along nicely. They’re almost pop-punkish. "That’s A Fact" and "Downtown" have very punky intros, but switch to more a midtempo shortly thereafter. The 4/4 guitar rhythm during the chorus of "Downtown" also provides a nice bouncy head-bob effect.

"Sparks" – probably the strongest tune on the disc – does the best job of any song Jade Raven has of providing a good balance between the uptempo and slower songs. It’s a very sweet song, and is sure to be a perfect inclusion on any love song mix tape.

Jade Raven's In The Dark is a very happy addition to the area's local music offerings, and I look forward to future albums from these fine young folks. They've also just recently all turned 21, so they'll hopefully be able to do more frequent local performances, which I am also curious to catch, so I can see how well the songs do in a non-studio environment.

If you like pop-rock, by all means, buy this album.