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Articles Home » 2013 Articles » Chasing Violets - 2013 Jade Hearts
Chasing Violets - 2013 Jade Hearts

ARTIST: Chasing Violets
ALBUM: Jade Hearts
LABEL: AOR Records
YEAR: 2013
SPONSOR: Chasing Violets


LINEUP: Sarah Fontaine - lead and backing vocals * Melisa Fontaine - lead and backing vocals

Musicians: Frederic Slama - guitars, keyboards * Tommy Denander - all instruments * Paul Sabu - all instruments * Goran Edman, Mikeal Erlandsson, Bob Harris, Rick Riso - lead and backing vocals * Christian Tolle, David Mark Pearce, Linkan Andersson, Stefano Lionetti, Mario Percudani, Carmine Martone - guitars * Alessandro del Vecchio - keyboards, drums * Eric Ragno, Colin Rodgers - keyboards * Ken Sandin, Anna Portalupi - bass * Sascha Spiegel, Pat Thern - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 The Main Attraction * 02 Web Of Lies * 03 A Shot In The Dark * 04 Silent Victory * 05 Deception In Heaven * 06 Jade Hearts * 07 Secrets In The Shadows * 08 Hollow Triumph * 09 Exile In Sadness * 10 The Scarlet Nymph * 11 Halo Of Light * 12 I Owe It To Myself



Last year we saw the debut CD from French sisters Sarah and Melisa Fontaine. Mentored by fellow French musician Frederic Slama, the debut Chasing Violets was released on the American Perris Records label. At the time, I wasn't completely enamoured with what I heard, but second time around, 'Jade Hearts' is a big improvement. Most of the sessions were conducted with either Tommy Denander or Paul Sabu at the helm, with a host of guitar spot guests (see list above) adding their contributions, plus co lead vocals spots by a quartet of ring-in's who need no introduction (Edman, Erlandsson, Harris and Riso). The other notable for this album is the record label: AOR Records. Like wow, that's a statement in itself, the label run out of Sweden by Freddie Allen who is attached to the band Houston. I'm thinking we might hear more about this label in future, but that's another story for another time.

The Songs
The bakers dozen of songs on offer here is pretty good. There are still one or two issues I have, but these are relatively minor where the whole album is concerned. 'The Main Attraction' is a very cool bass-pulsing lead-off track. Nice start, though the guitar solo at the end was a bit long. 'Web Of Lies' is second up with Goran Edman joining in on the session. The song itself is reasonable but the chorus needed to be more of a standout. 'A Shot In The Dark' takes on a darker persona, and with Axe singer Bob Harris joining the fray, the result is mixed, as the lighter and higher pitched vocals of the girls versus Harris' tougher voice didn't combine well to my ears at least. 'Silent Victory' is perhaps the pick of the bunch so far, the song just keeps on giving and the arrangement was well suited. 'Deception Of Heaven' is a heavier crunchier track, with at least four guitarists battling it out for solo supremacy. The lyrical phrasing on the chorus was too awkward.. 'deception in heaven' just didn't come out quite right, and at nearly 7 minutes it was overly long. The title track 'Jade Hearts' was performed and arranged by Paul Sabu. Stylistically different than the tracks that went before, but for me that's good, as it breaks up the flow. It's back to Scandi styled AOR for 'Secrets In The Shadows' with Tommy and Colin Rodgers pitching some spicy keyboard lines. Mikael Erlandsson blends in seamlessly on 'Hollow Triumph', vocally this three-part mix sounds great and is a CD highlight. Denander is all over 'Exile In Sadness', the music and vocals are OK but the lyrics just didn't do it for me sadly. 'The Scarlet Nymph' was another that I had to bypass. 'Halo Of Light' with some trance-like synths and thickened guitar riffs is much better, with Rick Riso and Christian Tolle adding their contribution making a big difference. The album completes with a rockin' finish. 'I Owe It To Myself' has a hint of the Mattioli sisters from their 1992 Cell Mates CD.

In Summary
All of the material was written by Frederic Slama, however I think I would've preferred just Sarah and Melisa handling all the lead vocals and leave everyone else out of it; just on backing vocals. It's the best way to keep it consistent across all the songs. For me the best songs were the ones where the duo were handling vocals on their own. Also, I thought the lyrics were trying to be too clever. From the unusual songtitles, and the way the verses and choruses were vocally phrased, some things didn't quite fit. I know this is mainly a French oriented project but still.. I appreciate the way the music was pitched to best capture the female vocals. Not too heavy and not too light, and also no real ballads. That was a bold move and a good one too! Overall, a definite improvement over last years debut, but for album #3 I believe there needs to be a strategic change in direction across a whole number of fronts. Otherwise we'll just be writing more of the same in another years time, which I don't really want to do as I feel this project definitely has legs for the future.

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