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This Time Around

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Album Review

A few decades after competing in the Miss America pageant, Sandy Kastel's debut album walks the line between her being a straightforward torch singer, a lounge act, and paying an honest homage to some of the greats in Las Vegas' musical history. It's that careful walk that saves her from becoming too much like the multitude of other torch singers, but which also leads to a near-dismissal on the grounds that she's just going through the motions of a basic lounge show. Ironically, given the Vegas bent of the album (songs from Elvis, the Rat Pack, and Wayne Newton are all present), it's when the orchestration and arrangements are at their weakest that Kastel's ability to sing actually comes out. When given the opportunity to hide behind a standard band line, she tends to do so, with a tinnier voice and a reduction in power. When she's given a lighter backdrop, she brings out her own abilities to fill in the void, but avoids making the whole become too heavy with unnecessary ideas and melodramatic phrasings. She's got a great voice and a great choice of songs to run through, but it's only when Kastel is using her own pure vocals that she can shine.

This Time Around, Sandy Kastel
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