Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The Secret Storm: “In The Sun EP” (2015) CD Review

The Secret Storm is Lauren Hoffman’s new project. From Charlottesville, Virginia, Lauren Hoffman was signed to Virgin Records back in the late 1990s, and released several full-length CDs, including 2006’s Choreography (that one coming after parting ways with Virgin). Her new CD, In The Sun, is a four-track EP showcasing her vocal and songwriting talents. It’s her first release in six years, following Interplanetary Traveler. Like her earlier releases, In The Sun was produced by John Morand. Joining Lauren Hoffman for this project are Tony Lechmanski on guitar; Cathy Monnes on cello, electric violin, and backing vocals; Ethan Lipscomb on keyboards; Jeff Diehm on bass; and Jordan Marchini on drums.

The EP opens with its title track, “In The Sun,” a seriously strong and totally engaging song. Check out these lines: “So bright, so right/The way you shine/Burns me from the inside/And I hate myself for shivering/For wanting more and more/Of how you make me feel/Like I could live forever in the sun.” There are moments when her vocal approach is so intimate and sexy, like a confession. And then she breaks open, bursts open, before bringing things back down again. “If I could, I’d turn away/Before you shut me out/Even for a minute, even for a day/I’m not that strong, but I’m strong enough to suffer/If that’s the price I have to pay/To feel the light on my skin.” There is something glorious in what seems like an obsession. Her vocals really pull you into her world. And I love Cathy Monnes’ work on strings.

“Family Ghost” has more of an intense feel right from its opening. It has a haunting quality without being moody. It’s a song that takes hold of you immediately. “He’s alone in a dark place/Thinking thoughts that no one understands/He’s at home in the darkness/I try to find him, I’m reaching out my hands.”

“I Just Broke Up With A Guy Who Looks Kinda Like You” has my favorite title of this EP. And as you might guess, it’s a bit lighter in tone. “I remember that kiss outside my hotel room in L.A./I was a little too young, and you were too married/So I said can you try that again someday.” It has more of a pop feel, and I like the backing vocals. But it’s the closing track, “’Til It Lasts,” that might be my favorite. There is something sweet and sad and beautiful about this song. “Next time I won’t be so quick/To say I’m in love when I shake like this.” And check out these lines: “I’m always taking wrong turns/Burning too bright and burning out quickly/I’ve had my lesson, but I’ll never learn/I keep hoping love will come fix me.”

CD Track List
  1. In The Sun
  2. Family Ghost
  3. I Just Broke Up With A Guy Who Looks Kinda Like You
  4. ‘Til It Lasts
In The Sun EP was released on May 19, 2015. 

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