After the news several years ago of the break up of Sixpence None the Richer, my fantasy scenario has been a Leigh Nash solo album. And that's exactly what we get with Blue on Blue, her first solo work. Fantasies do come true.
I'll get straight to the point. I'm a bit disappointed with the songs. They are good, no doubt about it, her wonderful voice is prominently displayed. The music is clean and thoughtfully engineered with clean instruments and sweet ballads. But it lacks something. Instantly after listening to the CD several times, I knew that it wasn't up to par with the previous Sixpence None the Richer songs. They lack the edge, the punch, the subtle religious angst that were present in Sixpence. They were too sweet, too radio-friendly, took too little chances. They came across more like traditional love songs and lullabies.
I think part of the reason was that Ms. Nash just gave birth and was focused on raising a family during the recording of this album, and thus lost some of that musical edge. Now some of you are probably thinking that the old Sixpence songs aren't really known for angst and anger, and you're probably right because their more popular hits 'Kiss Me' and 'There She Goes' were kind of laid-back and sweet sounding. It is their other lesser known hits that had that element of bitterness and hint of anxiety that made me appreciate the band. To get an idea what I mean, check out their songs Angel Tread, as well as 'Paralyzed' from their Divine Discontent album. There was always that hint of religious rebellion and spark from Leigh Nash that made her so attractive.
I count two good songs here: 'Ocean Size Love' has some of her best singing and a couple of great parts. Another good one, and my favorite track of the album is 'Cloud Nine' where they speed up the tempo and show a bit of a killer instinct, like the old Sixpence style. The first three songs are pleasant-sounding and meant to match a certain mood that I couldn't fully relate while listening to them. The rest are average ballads that she carries well with her voice.
So I'm a bit let down, but that's ok, because this solo album was a first good step. And she has some other good stuff coming up which I'll write about as soon as I get my hands on them. If you want a preview of future Leigh Nash music, check out her website and myspace page (love her versions of those Christmas songs). And if you haven't seen the video of Breathe Your Name yet, you're in for a treat. It's one of my favorite videos of all time.
Rating: 3/5 * * *
Too sweet, lacks the Christian angst.