Sunday, 22 June 2014

CD Review: Where The Sky Ends –The Songs of Michael Mott

"So I dare to dream"

Where The Sky Ends is the debut album from US composer and lyricist Michael Mott which makes for one of the better songbook collections that have been released this year. 11 original songs (and a brief interlude) are featured here which have been selected from shows he has written like Faustus and Mob Wife and also from his back catalogue of standalone songs which cover a wide range of styles. And as ever, a fascinating group of performers have been gathered to give voice to this music. 

What shines through in this collection, especially in the first half, is the sheer diversity of Mott’s writing. The chart-friendly pop of Justin Guarini’s ‘Just Like Me’ switches into Zachary Levi’s ‘The Left Side of the Moon’ which could easily pass as a Rat Pack standard; the slinky supperclub vibe of Sierra Boggess’ ‘The Devil’ with its fantastic brass accompaniment flips into the Donna Summer-esque Don’t Stop Dancin’ which recalls nothing so much as the soundtrack to an 80s gay bar!

Next up is one of the album’s highlights in ‘Dare to Dream’, taken from the show Faustus. Laura Osnes and Jeremy Jordan blend beautifully in what feels like it could be a classic Disney duet, the pair’s natural sweetness easily suggesting adorable animated animals twirling around a forest. And from then on, the default mode is strong power balladry which shines with its memorable tunes and strong lyrical clarity. 

From the cheated wife of ‘Let You Go’, given real pathos by Jacqueline Petroccia, to the aching passion of Jeremy Jordan on ‘Try’ and the slow-building drama of Orfeh’s Hold Me Tight, this is quality song-writing which has been served excellently by both production and performances. If I had to criticise anything, it would be the sequencing which feels a little off but there’s really little to fault here in a strong collection of songs that is well worth the time.


Originally written for The Public Reviews

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