Monday, 12 July 2010

AnnaGrace - Ready To Dare

Various icey trance temperatures sizzle and fizz out from speakers courtesty of Belgian-blaster Annemie Coenen and Nordic dance dealer Peter Luts who re-vitalise the Ian Van Dahl brand to unveil themselves as AnnaGrace with new album Ready To Dare. Not quite sharing a vein with Monrose, it's not a stretch to compare this album to Ladylike, but worth noting is that this is essentially sunset-lit trance tinged with dance-pop.

Fully committed to style, Ready To Fly is a 90 second intro and just so we know she is a glamorous robotic lady, her sleepish monologue eventually describes herself as wearing heels.

Losing efficiency, the economic Madonna-soundalike Celebration ought to have saved some time by simply being a straight cover. Attempting to inject the sentiment of its title might have proved more successful had the track not sounded like every other one here. Competent bleeps and smokey electronic triggers are unleashed if you are patient enough to wait for them.

Furtive vocals on Don't Let Go treacle actual feelings, trance temperatures promote a robust sense of unease and the slushy synths are stodgy enough to make it pass for more than just filler.

Adroit trance slither You Do Want Me shadows the hook of Let The Music Play, with the chorus 'you do want me' jabbing at your ears like bullets.

Should Have Known Better quite possibly pays tribute to Dannii's All I Wanna Do, boasting a majestic intro with the same swirling sense of masochistic emotions reflecting out from glistening eyes. Oh it just has to: all I can hear is the Minogue's plaintive trance sonics.

Getting engaged to some much needed euphoria, album standout Love Keeps Calling probably means it is time to admit you're a sex worker sweetheart - if I had a deeper voice I'd do it too so won't judge whilst I mime along. Singing at her going rate, the trance takes flight, flaring up to provide the album with its widest appeal, although it could only manage #23 in Flanders.

The moody guitar influenced To Be Loved is a ballad so beautiful you even forget she's even singing, it's moisture is reminiscent of Crowded House's Don't Dream It's Over's verses in places. The contemplative No More shakes things up with some trance spikes circulating around the dancefloor dread of the emotionally-damaged vocals.

Plodding cardio-bothered bopper Beat of My Heart ebbs and flows in the usual euro-trance midtempo manner - razor sharp rhymes at the expense of all credibility, and who cares when all you wanna do is dance to the beat of your own heart? Being in her 30s, any more than 70 steps per minute might be overdoing it.

Destination filler, Paradise at least employs some different shades in the name of Crystal Waters' Gypsy Woman (at a push). With surprising vocal gurning, it must be shag-tag night at the club as Anna yelps 'please don't worry, you know i'm in a hurry'. A decent if lagging trip.

On an album of dance-pop, You Make Me Feel is pop-dance and sticks out as being worthy of sitting on an Elize or Monrose setlist. Flanders top 5 smash Let The Feelings Go projects a similar climate of urgent refrains, cautionary verses that would make Tina Cousins grimace with fear and faintly-ambient pathos arrives in a storm of Cafe Del Mar sounds.

The AnnaGrace fetish for hard beats, trance tricks and trimmings might be too much for on the one sitting, but their unflinching dancefloor commitment cements the album as a glossy and slick accomplishment coated with enough flourishes to reward fans of the genre and those just curious to hear a surviving strand of the Ian Van Dahl aesthetic now immersed in a tidal wave of trance powder.


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