Erene Mastrangeli – Love, Shine
Forget that you may think this is an Italian vocalist with a heavy accent in a Euro-style pop prism. That’s not to be heard. Instead, there’s a folky almost Celtic touch to this work. Performed expertly by the musicians with superb instrumentation & vocalizing reminiscent of Sally Oldfield & Julie Tippets.
Some are slightly surreal (“Butterfly”) & though Erene’s English is good it helps to follow the English lyric insert on first listen. Her voice has no Italian reference point. Entertaining & intense punk-goth female vocalist Francesca Chiara (an RCA artist – “Il Parco Dei Sogni”) sings well in English but does have a Euro-suggestive tone.
Of particular quality from Erene is her “Lies & Cries,” which solidifies Ms. Mastrangeli’s vocal ability as a straight-shooting MOR-easy-listening crooner with a tint of jazz. Quite good. Her voice is grounded with warm interpretational expressive skills. Impressive when she goes deep.
On her debut set recorded in Rome, the 9 compelling tracks Love, Shine (Drops Nov 17-Angels Music Records/34:00) were produced by Daniele Sinigallia (electric guitars/electric bass). Erene explores many facets of her highly polished showcase.
Songs in the shape of “Rain, Rain,” approach the artistic merit of a Laura Nyro. With a fascinating reading of lyrics & spare instrumentation in a similar Nyro-type arrangement the music is inherent to the Nyro aesthetic. “Rain, Rain,” is soothing with heavy piano chords; everything is played with a light touch & expertise. Erene’s range many times is impressive (“We Are Treasures”).
More country-inspired with tonality & intonation similar to New Zealand’s country-roots singer Donna Dean “Let’s Take It Slow” has commercial potential with a strong melody in a sparkling brew. Features lyrics by Brad Roberts (Crash Test Dummies).
With the soft strains of “Beautiful Day,” there’s drama & Erene’s excellent vocalizing reminds me of the 60s singer-songwriter Ruthann Friedman (author of The Association’s hit “Windy”). That style was always wispy, but not silly (“People,” from “Constant Companion” – her only Reprise LP & decades later the eccentric “Chinatown”). Different from Joni Mitchell & Judy Collins. The whole LP has a Laurel Canyon singer-songwriter feel, nonetheless. The suavity is there, its clarity seeps through on “I Can’t Turn Away” & the Indigo Girls’ shaped “What Is Love.” Both likable.
This is a beautifully constructed album. Not a blemish among these.
Highlights – “Love, Shine,” “Butterfly,” “Lies & Cries,” “Rain, Rain,” “Let’s Take It Slow,” “Beautiful Day,” “I Can’t Turn Away,” “What Is Love” & “We Are Treasures.”
Musicians – Erene (lead vocals/acoustic guitar/keys/piano/bgv), Ivo Parlati (drums), Matteo Pezzolet & Alessandro Innaro (basses), Andrea Ruggiero (violin), Maurizio Loffredo (steel guitar), Andrea Pesce (piano/synth/string arrangements), Giampiero Caponi (first violin), Riccardo Savinelli (viola) & Angelo Maria Santisi (cello).
All songs by Erene except where noted. A folded lyric insert is included. Color image courtesy of Erene’s website.
CD images courtesy of William Murray. CD @ https://www.erenemusic.com/