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CD REVIEW: Melissa Van Der Scafe - "Urban Peasant"
By Gian F - 09/06/2003 - 12:08 AM EDT

Artist: Melissa Van Der Scafe
Album: "Urban Peasant"
CD Review: Genre: Ambient/Electronic/Pop/Rock/Urban
Sounds Like: Madonna/Suzanne Vega
Technical Grade: 8
Production/Musicianship Grade: 9
Commercial Value: 10
Overall Talent Level: 10
Songwriting Skills: 9
Performance Skill: 9
Best Songs: I'm Already Gone, Sweet Perfume, Divine, You Never Say Goodbye, I've Got A Feeling, The Present, Golden
Weakness: ?
CD Review: It's rare when I get a CD to review that's accompanied by reviews it has already received...could it be a form of subterfuge employed by the artist/label to subconsciously positon the music in my mind before listening to it in an attempt to persuade me to give it a favorable review? Or could it be that they simply lack review etiquette? Perhaps a combination of both.

Melissa is from Africa, via Canada. She was also voted the best female Pop artist of the year on she deserve it? Absolutely! Unlike so many artists that are electronic/ambient based, she has assembled a shrewd production team (Eric Monsanty & Bill Wiseman) that is musically and technically competent. Their skills, coupled with Melissa's polished vocals, are a very potent and refreshing combination. It is also the reason why "Urban Peasant" is easily one of the most artistic and commercially viable independent projects I have reviewed this year (and no, I was not influenced by the accompanying press).

Their memorable melodies and engaging lyrics showcase an awareness of what's hot in today's Pop/Rock music scene, while defying categorization and creating a sound of their own which is distinct but yet competitive. Their music never gets boring as they incorporate unusual arrangements and instrumentation not normally associated with Pop music like bagpipes, banjos, and Middle Eastern instruments. As an industry professional, it makes me wonder what they could achieve in a major label studio...

Advice: Push this project to radio, major labels, and licensing companies.

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