Sunday, 16 February 2014

CD Review: Ramin Karimloo – Ramin

“Your music, it teases at my ear”

After being most pleasantly surprised indeed by a sneak preview of Ramin Karimloo’s forthcoming EP, I thought I’d give his self-titled debut album a whirl to see how it stacked up. As with his invention of broadgrass, one can see the determination of Karimloo not to be restricted by his musical theatre career in the tracklisting of this 2012 collection too – he acknowledges it with interpretations of Phantom’s The Music of the Night and Love Never Dies’ ‘Til I Hear You Sing but the majority of the songs are self-penned or covers of bands like Muse.

The musical variety definitely makes the disc stand out from other such albums from musical theatre performers but I have to admit to being a little but disappointed with the production by Tom Nichols as a whole, which places a patina of professional sheen over the material which renders it unfortunately bland. Weighty orchestrations drown out any vocal subtlety and smother the emotional intensity that is Karimloo’s strength and though there are glimmers of what could have been and what is now with The Road To Find Out.

Duncan Sheik’s Song of the Human Heart is beautifully done, as is the Ryan Tedder-co-write Coming Home. And the interesting pop angle on Broken Home and Muse’s Guiding Light provide the too-rare flashes of personality. But elsewhere, the tendency to overblown balladry and even schmaltz – a cover of Bryan Adams’ Everything I Do (I Do It For You) feels particularly indulgent – becomes a little bit wearing over the 12 tracks. Karimloo’s work with the Sheytoons and co-writes with Hadley Fraser seem much more suited to my personal tastes and so I look forward to the forthcoming EPs.

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