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The Only Way Out Is Up

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Album Review

On her sophomore solo release, Elisabeth Lohninger presents a set of strong New York jazz, a combination of original compositions and old standards. The focus is essentially on the hipness of jazz, the mood of New York, the interplay between emotion and weather and architecture. Her vocals are strong here. Stronger, in fact, than the music over which she's singing. As a result, some fine instrumental performances on the part of her bandmembers are often overshadowed by a severe belting out of a riff. Lohninger has a throaty, lower-register delivery for much of the album — almost a stereotypically loungey sound. This can be made to work well with original compositions, especially given her strong ties to place inherent in the songs. However, she simply overdoes it on most cuts, with exceptionally loud deliveries and enunciations drawn out almost painfully to fit into a stricter phrasing than is called for. She only pulls back a bit now and then to expose what could have been a very nice album indeed. Instead, a weak layer of musicality is buried for the majority of the disc's span, hidden under a thick coating of vocal power. Worth a listen for the glimpses of the backing band, but Lohninger's other efforts may be a better pick for a quick shot at her own vocal abilities, without as much of the overdone aspect.

The Only Way Out Is Up, Elisabeth Lohninger
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