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Beloved
Artist: Lara Landon
Website: http://www.laralandononline.com
Label: Bema Media
Tracks: 13 Tracks/52 min 

I married an Italian, and quickly learnt that the Mediterranean passion runs deep (especially for food).  My daughter and youngest son look as if they just got off the boat.  My other son looks like an Anglo version of an Italian (he looks like his mom, but with my, “Oh, I just got sunburn walking from the car to the front door” skin, and green eyes).  And they all have the passion that so many of us who are of English stock seem to be missing.  I think I know what happened there: when God was handing out passion us Anglos thought He said fashion and figured we’ll have no need for that.  So here we are now, not only don’t we have any passion but we can’t dress properly either. For those folks of Middle Eastern and or Mediterranean background their passion for food is driven by relationship not by their stomach like us Anglos.  It is around food, the preparing and the eating that the bonds are made and the stories told. 

Lara Landon invites us to sit and join her in the feast she presents to us on this disc, Beloved.  And this isn’t just a meat and three veggies type meal.  Oh no.  What Lara gives us is the nice hearty stuff to start with, full of hooks and easy listening lyrics for the first half of the meal.  Then we hit the middle and things begin to chill out.  Finally she serves up sweets and coffee.  And as we are sitting around enjoying this meal Lara is giving us an exposition of her life.

So the first half of her disc is nicely paced piano/keyboard driven contemporary pop.  Around track five Lara begins to slow down as she serves us up some tasty treats.  The final tracks reduce the pace, to just stringed instruments and piano on track thirteen, until you find the final sweet drops of coffee left at the end of the cup.

And therein lies my problem.  I heard the first few tracks, liked them (but not to passionately), but basically tossed out the last part of the album.  My mistake.  As I spent a bit more time listening it was in those last few tracks that I really heard Laras’ passion.  It wasn’t in the hearty, meaty part of the album that was making all the noise I wanted to hear.  It was in the quiet part of the meal Lara gives us that I sound the sweetest was the most rewarding. 

Lara style of music and vocals has many influences that she has made her own.  In different tracks you will hear a bit of Iona in the music or Imogen Heap type arrangements.  Next you may hear Sarah Mclauchlans’ or Joanne Hoggs’ vocals.  But it is all mixed up with Laras’ passion for God so it has now become her own. And it is her voice that is star of this album.  She soars as she takes you through her doubts, and moves you with her passion for God.  And this passion is real.  Holding tight to the influence of her fathers’ Jordanian roots and mothers Sicilian heritage Laras’ stories are honest, and presented humbly.  For a twenty five year old, Lara has had her fair share of stumbling along the way, most notably a bout with depression and anxiety throughout adolescence. 

She was “discovered” when she went to the office of Jeremy Lee to “pick his brain”.  Lara invited him to her show to which he turned up on a date night with his wife (Plumb).  That led to an introduction to Robert Beeson, and the rest is history; as they say.  The album production is fantastic.  But that is what you should expect with production by Michael Omaritan (for the uninitiated Michael is a piano/keyboardist and a legend of the 70’s, 80’s and early 90’s. Wiki him) and engineered by Terry Christian. 

So, come in, grab a seat and a plate and enjoy the many layered, complex flavours of the feast that Lara Landon passionately set before you. And you can look for more of her passion when you flick off the tunes, click on Safari and look up, www.newrealityinternational.org (involved in giving aide to Haiti and Sudan to name a few), Laras’ other passion.  Lara is offering up a song called "Look Up " to the Haitian cause and is now available for download  through noisetrade.com/laralandon. 

Robert Boynton 


 
 
 
 
 
 

 
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