MIRENDA ROSENBERG: Placeholder (Label: www.mirendarosenberg.com)

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Mirenda Rosenberg is a young Irish soul singer and ‘Placeholder’ is her debut album and if you’re looking for something a little different to the soul music currently peddled by the so-called big names you could do worse than investigate. Mirenda cites her chief influences as Billie Holiday, Nina Simone and Roberta Flack and – if they could – any of those three ladies would be proud to be associated with this album. That’s not to say that Mirenda sounds like any of them or that her music is in any way derivative or a pastiche. Indeed, on the contrary, the eleven tracker is totally original … quirky and enigmatic even. No, the link with those three true divas is in the approach to the music. Ms. Rosenberg’s soul is an intelligent soul. The melodies are often intricate but the lyrics are always intriguing, interesting and intelligent… proper grown up soul music, if you would. Case in point is the unusual title cut. It’s a pacey little tune with fine soaring harmonies and a sweet melody driving a lyric that deals with people not in love loving each other via, I guess, the internet … “we met virtually but in reality we connected”. See what I mean about interesting and enigmatic? Speaking of which, I don’t know many artists who’d come up with a song title as blunt as ‘Death’. Mirenda Rosenberg does … then goes on to dress the lyrics in a loose, loping funk arrangement. There’s a lot more surprises on the album. ‘Nothing’ has reggae lilt, the brass work on ‘It Takes’ will recall the marching funeral bands of New Orleans, while ‘Good Woman’ is a blues based rocker. Ballad-wise, ‘Only Human’ has a delicate feel; ‘Didn’t Make Love’ is hugely melancholic (like Ian McEwan’s novel, ‘On Chesil Beach’), while the dramatic ‘Goodbye’ lasts a mere 27 seconds. My personal favourite though is the sax-led ‘Puppet’. It’s a melodic duet with Graham Miley and features some superb harmonies and, thinking of radio, maybe a better bet as lead single than the shifting rhythms of the lead single ‘Dangerous’. Clearly, ‘Placeholder’ is a varied album. What holds it together is Ms. Rosenberg’s vocal talent which in the space of a few bars can go from feisty strength to a frail vulnerability. To repeat – worth checking, if you ‘re looking to take your soul in new directions. For more info go to www.mirendarosenberg.com
(BB) 4/5