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CD REVIEW: Diana, "Step Into The Light"
By David Lockeretz - 01/27/2003 - 09:04 PM EST

Artist: Diana
Album: "Step Into The Light"
CD Review: Singer Diana Karthas has a strong, expressive voice, good diction and, with Rhonda S. Boule, has written an appealing set of songs.

Karthas's songs are catchy without pandering to commercial trends. Her melodies are simple and memorable; her lyrics are concise and the chord progressions of her songs move nicely. The musicianship is solid too. I particularly like the fretless bass playing of Tim Archibald.

The next step for Diana Karthas is to develop a more contemporary sound. Karthas is already heading in this direction with some of her songs, such as the funky "Perfect Moments", which has a lot of sharp rhythmic changes and unexpected twists, and "Spirit's Dream", which develops nicely from a piano-based introduction to a more rocking chorus. But some of the material comes off as worn-out: for example, the ballad "Firelight" could have come off a Heart album from the mid 80s. Part of the problem is the big-sounding production (reverb, huge drums, etc); part of it is the omnipotent piano that dominates the majority of the songs. ("Perfect Moments", featuring more guitar than piano, sounds more modern because of it; same with the acoustic introduction to "Never Go Back>"). I'm all about rock piano; maybe Karthas needs to use it in an edgier way (Ben Folds Five) or more minimalist/abstract/postmodern (Tori Amos).

This is still, however, a very promising recording from someone who could become a major performer in her field. If Karthas can develop a more contemporary sound, her strong voice and superior songwriting ability might make her a household name.

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