EP – Mantra – Sheri Miller

Posted by admin on April 21st, 2008

I’ve heard a few of Sheri’s songs on various podcasts, and while I really loved her voice, I can’t say I ever really listened and paid full attention. That being said I did add her to my list of artists to investigate further. Several weeks passed and lo and behold what do I find on my MySpace, but a friend request from Sheri herself. As many Indie Launchpad readers will know, I only add bands and artists that I’ve reviewed to MySpace. Anyway I took this as an omen and decided to hop over to her page, to have a quick listen. It’s amazing the difference in something when you are actually paying attention. I fired off a quick email to Sheri and a week or so later, with CD in hand, I sat down for a proper listen.

“Waste My Breath” begins with some great drumming and then the acoustic guitar kicks in, along with Sheri’s vocals. This is an unusual song, in that it feels sort of folk, rock and pop and rolled into a rather pleasant little bundle. It’s a song for me that starts the EP well, but I sort of sense I’ve heard it all before and I don’t mean on some other podcast. The vocals are very nice, but I only really sense Sheri losing herself in it on the odd occasion. This certainly cannot be said for the following and indeed title track, “Mantra (I’m in Love)”, with it’s wonderful use of the piano, but good though it is, it pales into insignificance when Sheri’s vocals burst through. This isn’t an exhibition in vocal gymnastics, this is raw and tender emotion. Although certainly sounding nothing like Ertha Kitt, I really am reminded of her phrasing and indeed there’s just the odd, flash of her personality that bursts through. I love this track pure and simple. It’s not overly complex, or highly produced, it’s just tight and very well executed.

Though criticism doesn’t come easy, it’s hard for me to mention anything I really like about “Devil in White”. It’s very much like a single that comes from an American Idol winner, like Katherine MacFee, I think her name is. It’s a fairly fast paced track, but just doesn’t have to much life in it. Music and vocals are pleasant enough, but the song has no real heart. “All He Has To Do” however ticks all the right boxes. One huge thing it has in it’s favour is an uncanny resemblance to something Ron Sexsmith would do. Not surprising then when I look at Sheri’s MySpace page and see that she lists Ron Sexsmith as one of her influences. This is just such a wonderful track and I knew it was indeed special when I found my self reach the previous button to play it again.

“Right Here Right Now” also has that Ron Sexsmith vibe to it, but this doesn’t feel as strong. When listening to music, I can often here other people singing the same song in my head and it helps me to make comparisons. Many times, I’m not comparing vocals or music, I’m comparing the poetry if you like, how a song flows and how lines are phrased. The final song on this 6 track EP is “The Blade” which has the ebb and flow feel, indeed the whole EP has that great flow to it, tide coming on with “Waste My Breath” and then going out with “The Blade”.

Conclusion : A great collection of songs, from an enormous talent. I love Sheri’s voice, when it is more laid back and raw, but the more upbeat tracks, provide a nice contrast and result in a very well rounded EP. Great stuff. I’m certainly looking forward to her next release.

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