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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Review: Francesca Reggio And Blue Shift - State Of Motion

Francesca Reggio And Blue Shift - State Of Motion
2009, Bluekay Music

Francesca Reggio looks sweet and innocent. Even once she opens her mouth and starts to sing she has an All-American girl sound about her. Once you start getting into the lyrics, however, you find that Reggio will never be confused with Ms. Congeniality. Writing from a deep emotional well, Reggio uses her pen and voice to make strong, sometimes brutally honest statements about whatever is on her mind, sometimes with self-deprecating wit and others with cutting vigor. This is all done against the backdrop of pleasing Pop/Rock arrangements that often belie the intense nature of Reggio's thoughts. Backed up by Blue Shift (Benjamin Ricci - guitar; Lou Paniccia - drums; Pam Gouveia (keys) and a bass platoon of Andreas Farmakalidis and Tony Gouveia), Reggio is a formidable performer. Francesca Reggio and Blue Shift's debut EP, State Of Motion has received a lot of popular attention in New England thus far, and may take the band farther and wider than they ever imagined.

State Of Motion opens with When You See Me Again, a song about how friendships can go awry when the boundaries are tested; particularly when one friend pretends nothing ever happened. In My Place is a kinder, gentler take on the elements of Alanis Morissette's You Oughta Know. Well, gentler, anyway. Reggio is, in fact, fairly cutting in her commentary about her replacement. Father's Day exposes a great deal of pent up anger toward a once-absentee dad who has re-asserted his place, at least in word. The anger here runs deep, and the flares exposed are scathing and full of barbs. State Of Motion is a decent rock arrangement, but comes across as a bit shrill with its deep seated anger and fear of commitment. It is an honest look at a relationship from someone who doesn't know how to stand still and doesn't know how to be loved. Victim gets a bit more shrill, as Reggio uses the music as a bit of cathartic therapy. This can work, but in this case she goes to that well one time too many on a short EP. Conversely, You Never Happened is brilliance personified; a dark and beautifully textured song about wanting to erased the past. The melody is absolutely gorgeous, and Reggio controls her anger and pain and funnels it into the tune rather than letting it rage.

State Of Motion is cathartic in nature; an angry record mostly hidden in strong Pop/Rock arrangements. That anger gets out of control, particularly on Victim, where it borders on detracting from the songs rather than fueling them, but there's no doubt Reggio can write. You Never Happened is one of the finest songs I've heard this year, and proof that as Reggio continues to learn to funnel her emotions into her art rather than letting them use her she is going to turn out some amazing material. For the time being, consider Francesca Reggio and Blue Shift a young, and extremely talented, group. I have a feeling hers is a name you'll all be very familiar with down the line.

Rating: 4 Stars (Out of 5)

You can learn more about Francesca Reggio And Blue Shift at or State Of Motion is available for download through Amazon MP3 or iTunes. CDs are currently available only at live shows, although the band is working on making them available through their website. In the meantime, if you contact Francesca Reggio & Blue Shift through their MySpace I’m sure they’ll be happy to help you out.

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