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Samara Lubelski 

Spectacular of Passages

Wednesday, Dec 14 2005
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Samara Lubelski is an accomplished singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and recording engineer from New York City, who has spent the past decade playing in a couple of psych-folk outfits (Hall of Fame and Tower Recordings), as well as working with such underground notables as Metabolismus, Jackie-O Motherfucker, and the Sonora Pine. So when crafting her third solo record, Spectacular of Passages, Lubelski knew to surround her softly strummed acoustic guitar and hushed, melancholic voice with a collection of top-shelf indie musicians. And she knew how to expertly blend a breadth of instrumentation (Mellotron, brass, organ, strings, piano, percussion, etc.) into a rich, warm folk-pop sound, which feels as cozy as wrapping yourself up in a wool blanket and contemplatively sipping a mug of hot cider. However, skilled production and veteran accompaniment do not sum up this work, which is lacking in places. Too many of these midtempo tunes are nearly indistinguishable from many of the indie-folk confessionals broadcast across college radio airwaves back in the mid-'90s, which wouldn't be an issue if Lubelski abandoned her airy, tentative falsetto and allowed her voice to become more of an emotive force. She need not scream; she just needs to inject her vocals (and by extension her songs) with more passion, more suspense.

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Justin F. Farrar

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