Do you love the sounds of the sea? Enjoy… Cafe Americaine - Music From The Sea. Sexy, purifying, and deeply relaxing. It lets you travel in a timeless space where, what only matter is your inner peace.
Oh, My Girl, the second album by singer/songwriter Jesse Sykes and her band the Sweet Hereafter – led by Phil Wandscher – picks up where her debut, Reckless Burning, left off. Songs are played at cough-syrup tempo, production is sparse, instrumentation equally so, offering just enough of a frame for the melody and lyrics to hang themselves on, and everything, absolutely everything, is underplayed. There is plenty of dynamic tension, but little to no dynamic range. Yes, this is a good thing. Sykes' ghostly voice, which hovers about her words more than inhabits them, has enough old-world folkiness, raw – if intentionally muted – willingness, and lonesome country pain in it to carry off these tunes with authority. Produced, mixed and engineered by multi-instrumentalist Tucker Martine, Oh, My Girl is full of slow, dipping passion, moody expressionism and poetic smarts to make it stand out in a sensual, narcotic way from the rest of the gothic alterna-twang pack. And one more thing: Sykes has more emotion in the grain of her halting, cracking voice than a whole army of Margo Timmins'es – so let the comparisons stop now, please.
Singer/dancer/choreographer Paula Abdul hit the big time with the third single, "Straight Up," off this album, which sparked a string of hits that carried through to her follow-up. Despite having a slight voice, her voice is distinct and perfectly suited to this synthesized type of late-'80s dance-pop. "Cold Hearted" is insistent and catchy, "Forever Your Girl" is sweet and accessible, and "Opposites Attract" gives Abdul a chance to spar with the Wild Pair. There is some filler – "Next to You," for example – that hasn't aged as well as the better material, but overall this is a consistent album with some great dance-pop songs. Unfortunately, as Abdul and her material matured, her audience waned.