September 1998

krista d. - blind
Independent T2-1123
Released: 1998

by Bruce Bassett

Musical Performance **1/2
Recording Quality ***
Overall Enjoyment ***1/2

[Reviewed on CD]Before we get started, let’s play a quick game of word association. Just say the first thing that jumps into your head. If I say, "17 years old," you say ______. If I say, "Christian rock," you say _______. If you replied along the lines of "Hanson" and "not for me," then I sincerely request that you toss those thoughts aside before you continue reading. I might also mention at this point that Mozart composed his first symphony at the wise old age of nine, and his Requiem is undeniably a remarkable composition. Not that I am trying to make direct comparisons between Mozart and krista d. in a musical sense. I just want to emphasize that youth and religion have no direct influence on how good or bad a musical work is.

OK, OK, I’m not going to play holier than thou and pretend I didn’t have any immediate negative biases either. I confess, when I became aware that a Christian rock CD was going to be delivered unto me for review consideration, the sounds of the ‘80’s Christian metal band Stryper buzzed discordantly in my ears. I know, I know, like Lot’s wife, I shouldn’t have looked back.

When I did pop blind in for the first time, it turned out to be an eye-opening experience. No, it wasn’t anything quite as dramatic as an epiphany or a vision in a burning bush. Rather it was the enlightenment that comes from quickly realizing just how far off the mark one’s preconceptions of how something should sound are. Here was a young woman singing about the challenges that she, and her peers, must face and the role Jesus plays in her life. What impressed me, however, were not the messages but the manner in which they were delivered. With a voice of youthful innocence, yet sounding mature beyond her years, krista d. exhibits a rare and refreshing degree of sincerity and is at times absolutely enchanting. Additionally, she possesses a seemingly innate vocal ability to harmonize with herself, usually singing a third above and below the main vocal line.

There is heavy use of rhythm programming on this recording, an approach which I rarely embrace. The timbre and life a real musician conveys to a real instrument can never be justly reproduced by a computer. With that said, it can work well if the rhythm is of a more experimental nature on the techno side, as it is aptly in "Nothing Else." On the flip side, the diverse guitar sounds of Roger Guitard add interest and intrigue to the mix and to a large extent counteract the unimpassioned digital sound of the preprogramming.

At its crux, blind is a collection of pop-rock songs as enjoyable and at their core as well written as most of the releases we hear from the current crop of female artists enjoying popularity today -- Natalie Imbruglia, Holly McNarland, Chantal Krevaziuk, etc. Understandably blind lacks some of the polish and finish that comes with experience and the increased access to production and artistic resources that accompanies a big-label release. Even accounting for blind’s limitations, it is still easy to appreciate the value of this vibrant diamond in the rough.

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