Lora Bidner | To the North
"To the North" by Lora Bidner is a collection of folk songs that truly demonstrates Lora's abilities as a vocalist and arranger. "To The North" offers listeners strong orchestral arrangements backing Bidner's incredible voice. She is such a strong vocalist with a sound close to Jazz and which she doesn't hold back with on any of her recordings. I am so impressed by her ability to cut through complicated arrangements and yet still maintain the dynamics in her voice. Songs like "I Awoke", and "Sandcastle Honesty" truly display the talents of this young artist. Lora Bidner has impressed us by her ability to write music that is different and unique yet sounds so memorable. This album receives an overall rating of 7 because of its strong orchestral arrangements, obvious musical ability, and great production work.
Song Writing: 7
Favorite Song: Ignite
The production quality for "To the North" is on par with what I would expect from a polished recording. The album was done by Dean Watson at Gallery Recording Studios and mastered by Reuben Ghose at Mojito Mastering. I feel like Watson did a great job tracking - especially the orchestral parts. I love the fit and sound of the strings throughout the album. Everything sits together really nicely the way orchestras should. I imagine some of the arrangements are more complicated than the mixes. The mixes for the most part are really great but can get a little muddy at times. I was really impressed when coming to the end of the album and listening to "Ignite". This track happened to be my favorite song on the album because of how much it stood out on the record. I love the build up and the mix space is fantastic - every instrument is well positioned. This album receives a 7 for production because it really does sound great but nothing you would not expect from a studio recording.
I think one of Bidner's strongest attributes is in her writing and arrangements. Every track on this album is so perfectly put together structurally. Each song offers a strong build which helps to hold the listener's attention. I think one of the best written songs on the album is "Sandcastle Honesty". This song really displays her ability to write unique songs with really strong arrangements. What's even more impressive is the fact that she plays much of the instrumentation on the album including piano, guitar, synths, and uke. The only criticism I can really make is in her ability to craft better vocal hooks in her Bidner's choruses. I would love to hear more elements of popular melody close to what Regina Spektor has done with her music. This album receives a 7 because the writing is great but I know that the next release will be even better from this young songwriter.
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