December 1997

Holly Cole - Dark Dear Heart
Metro Blue CDP 7243 8 57365 20
Released: 1997

by Jay Piriz

Musical Performance ***
Recording Quality ***1/2
Overall Enjoyment **1/2

[Reviewed on CD]Hey, if you hurry and get your plane ticket to Europe now, you can catch the Holly Cole European tour. She is over there the entire month of November. Holly Cole's voice is positively intoxicating. She pushes her vocal limits a bit harder this time into a little different dimension. Her rendition of "I've Just Seen A Face" (Lennon-McCartney), the opening cut, is fresher than new. Aaron Davis' perfectly paced piano on "Onion Girl" provides a driving canvas for Cole; she paints this one with vocal emotion and passion. The Holly Cole Trio musicians--Aaron Davis on piano, and David Piltch on bass and percussion--as always, are spectacular. This is a seasoned pair of excellent jazz-pop musicians that have a symbiotic synergy which is apparent on all their recordings.

Some new things this time, however, are the additional musicians that sit in with the Trio. This CD adds a new character to the familiar smoky-cabaret sound of the Holly Cole Trio. Electronic programming (don't's done, well, tastefully!) is used on a few cuts and there are some horns here and there, even a banjo! I really love Cole's sultry, slow and sexy style.

I'm not sure, however, that this CD really does it for me. The quality of the recording is good enough, and Cole's voice is as juicy as ever, but some songs such as "World Seems To Come And Go" (Piltch, White) seem to be a bit overdone. The effective concept of less-is-more, so apparent in previous Holly Cole Trio recordings, is not prevalent throughout this CD. An exception is "River" (Joni Mitchell), which is beautifully interpreted by Cole and her musicians; on this cut, less is indeed more. "Hold On" (Klein, Batteau, Cody), a soulful song replete with wah-wahs, programming and overdubbed background voices, conjures up memories of the 1970's theme from the movie Shaft. This song misses the mark altogether. Remember now, I am a Holly Cole fan. If you hurry, you can still make it to Europe for her concert. Maybe she will perform some songs from the great Temptation CD.