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Until Morning/Come Out Of The Dark


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Performer Notes
  • Tori Sparks' fourth album is given a double title and, in its physical form, pressed on two CDs, as if to suggest that it is to be taken as two seven-track EPs rather than one 14-track, full-length collection. The twin titles are similar, even if one refers to time and the other to illumination; in both cases, Sparks is in pre-dawn shadows, contemplating the approach of daylight. The music also is complementary, although the arrangements in the "Until Morning" songs lean a bit more toward soul-pop (and, in the case of the cover of "Quiz s Quiz s Quiz s," Latin), while those in "Come Out of the Dark" are more folk and folk-rock. In both cases, the dominant factor is Sparks herself, however. Usually, the term "singer/songwriter" suggests that the artist is a songwriter who sings, sometimes in only a barely adequate, get-me-over voice, in order to showcase her songs. But then there are artists like Van Morrison and Laura Nyro who are sufficient vocal stylists to be considered singers who happen to write their own songs. Sparks sounds nothing like Morrison or Nyro, but she fits into this latter category. She sings in a throaty alto, adding all sorts of expressive coloring to her romantic, poetic lyrics, thus giving them an added emotionalism. The arrangements tend to lay back and just support that voice, whether in the rockier charts of the first disc or the acoustic guitar-dominated ones of the second. Sparks is accompanied by several harmony singers who just shadow her, except for Shawn Mullins, who sings a full-fledged duet on "Letter to a Wretch No. 2." Sparks writes excellent songs, but her singing style is so powerful she would be worth hearing singing other people's material as well. ~ William Ruhlmann
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