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CD REVIEW: Crystal Brandt – “Bessie’s Last Stand”
By Stacey Board - 02/20/2004 - 10:18 PM EST

Artist: Crystal Brandt
Album: “Bessie’s Last Stand”
CD Review: Let me just say it doesn’t get much more independent than this. Crystal Brandt did close to everything on this CD but mix it. Casey Brandt did that and took the cover photo and did the layout.

Crystal produced it, wrote it, arranged it, recorded it, sang all the vocals, played all the guitars, keys, bass, drums and provided all noise.

It's very low key, low-fi, indie sounding and it's also very very good. Her voice sometimes sounds like Fiona Apple, so these remind me of what might be Fiona’s demo tapes. The charmingly unpredictable yet hooky melodies and cadence of the lyrics are also reminiscent of Fiona at her best. There is also happily none of the self conscious histrionics that to me is Fiona at her worst. If you know who Amy Corrreia is you will also love this CD.

I would not want to see her material overproduced and ruined, but I would like to hear just slightly more polish on just a few of the rough edges. She has a lovely voice but some of the doubling and harmonies are a bit off. There is so much to love about the CD though that I can overlook a few flaws.

Brandt obviously has more than her share of talent as a songwriter, singer and instrumentalist. Love the banjo on “Fire and Brimstone”, love the basswork on “Jerks to Work With”. This CD is definitely worth having and Brandt is a talent to keep your eye on.

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