Ormolu: False Fulfillment From Substitutes

Ormolu is the false gold used to decorate frames and sculptures. Brown uses that in the title track of her new CD to explore the dark in which those live who try to fulfill their needs with substitutes:

"we named you for metal
named you for stuff
that looks like the real thing
your sweetness is sour
so is your touch
you really shouldn't want so much

The couple trapped with the substitute baby is only part of a world Brown creates that is full of fear and disappointment. Yet, the combined effect of each tale told is not depressing because Brown never loses the humanity of each of the characters she creates, in the same way that Breugel could record our follies while also expressing the love he felt for our silly species.

As with her past releases, Brown exercises her considerable range as a vocalist, reminding us of her classical work and her ability to put that to use to create dark expressionist tonal worlds like the ones found on Ormolu. Think Randy Newman meets Stravinsky.

While Ormolu has only eight tracks, Brown offers up just the right-sized portions of this kind of fare. A longer CD could easily drift into the overblown messes that marked 1970s rock. Brown knows when to lift her hands from the keyboard, leaving the listener satisfied with the journey taken.

Dave Mazza, The Portland Alliance