All it takes is 3 chords and a dream!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Review: Melissa Axel - Transition [EP]

Melissa Axel – Transition
2009, Melissa Axel

Denver’s Melissa Axel is a woman with a piano. Following in the footsteps of Tori Amos, Axel uses the piano as more than just an instrument, it is the narrow focus through which she delineates the world using her personal perspective. The Berklee College of Music grad is working on a full length album at the moment, but in the mean time sent along her first EP, Transition, for review.

Axel has an interesting and pleasant voice that is deep and full, with a lot of implied strength. There’s no breathy pop maven quality here, but a sound reminiscent of earth and nature. Consequently Axel puts the listener instantly at easy (la Carly Simon or Joan Baez). The music is quite enjoyable as well, but Axel does run into some issues with the wordiness of her songs. Axel comes across as well spoken in her songs, but is wordy to the point of losing the listener at times. Fall This Hard opens the set with a wonderful piano and violin-sourced Pop ballad. This song is lovely and a joy to listen to and Axel manages to stay somewhat lyrically succinct. On Transition (No More Fairytales), Axel delivers what sounds like a Broadway soliloquy in song. The word count rises here and borders on distraction, but the song is so good it doesn’t quite intrude on the listening experience. By the time we get to Transparency and Madness the verbosity has become too much to bear. This is unfortunate as its somewhere in here that many listeners may choose to turn off the disc; the best song is yet to come. Transition closes out with Out Of Nowhere. Axel has reined herself in here, delivering a gorgeous piano/pop ballad with incredible harmonies.

Melissa Axel has a voice you’ll love listening to, and when she stays in control of the lyrics her songs are a pleasure. Axel appears to have a tendency toward extreme verbosity in her lyrics that detracts from the essential beauty of the music she writes. When Axel controls this tendency the results are sublime. Transition is a pleasure when she does and a difficult listen when she does not.

Rating: 3 Stars (Out of 5)

You can learn more about Melissa Axel at or You can purchase a copy of Transition at

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