17 October 2019

Alt-Rock-Prog-Pop Review: Sharon Lia Band-Beyond Wonderland

Release Date: August 22, 2019
Label: Sharrick Records

Sharon Lia leads from the front in the epic and emotive, Beyond Wonderland, the debut album from the Philadelphia-based band of her namesake. The ever-versatile Sharon chaperones us through the album’s varying themes with her compelling lead vocals and adept piano performances. The singer is at once soulful and candid on this collection, which is an ethereal meeting point of joy and nostalgia, of a past to be forgotten and a future to be fought for. The luscious instrumentation provided by guitarist Rick Jannotti and drummer Howie Fallon bolster the touching, thought-provoking message of this work. While the trio hasn’t struck gold with this debut, it’s clear they’re not far off.

After a brooding beginning, “Sick Addiction” explodes into a badass crescendo of electrifying guitar and thumping percussion. The tormented lyrics showcase Sharon Lia Band’s talent for creating sensational, melodic rock with a twist of poignant tenderness. On the aptly named “Anomie,” Sharon’s harmonious, gentle vocals paint the portrait of a woman let down and misunderstood by her society. Over a celestial arrangement, the defiant singer highlights the power of determination, self-realization, and grit.

“Why Can’t We Pretend?” is a gorgeous, sentimental and dreamy track. It boasts a blissful string section, a triumphant drum kick, and Sharon’s vocal prowess is given the space and backing to fully flourish. On “Hanging by a Thread” the singer similarly wows with an immaculate vocal performance. This track immediately grabs attention with a cadenced organ, crisp drums, and bluesy bass. Despite the smooth, polished sound of this track, the lyrics allude to a tense precarity, an uncertain danger, an imminent threat. This sensitivity is what adds layers of meaning to the band’s particular alternative-rock sound.

The tracklisting is masterful here as the band follows the melancholic end of “Hanging by a Thread” with the confident, sexy, strutting opening of “Free to Fall.” The beat oozes tenacity made up of a quivering electric guitar, a celestial synth, and a rapping drumbeat. The singer’s soaring voice proclaims fearlessness, boldness, and freedom. Then, Sharon Lia Band gifts us their unique take on a rock ballad in “Hunter and Slayer.” It’s tinkling piano and soft string section elicit a mysterious, fairytale feeling. While Sharon’s graceful singing evokes images of a somber, smoky bar-room performance one could only find in a black-and-white film.

On the album’s finale, “Beyond Wonderland.” a lurking bass line is joined by cracking drums while an electric guitar looms in the background, waiting to emerge noisily for the sensational climax. The brazen lyrics deal with the voyage of life, creativity, and self-discovery. It generates a feeling of harmonious completion, as the outro begins, we hear birds chirping and the soft sound of rainfall.  

The ambition and confidence needed to actualize this debut album’s grand vision show Sharon Lia Band has the attributes for a bright future in music. Beyond Wonderland is sure to leave you looking forward to this band’s next adventure.

Key Tracks Include: “Hanging by a Thread”, “Free to Fall”, and “Hunter and Slayer”

Nicholas Lane-MuzikMan.net Staff
October 17, 2019

REVIEWS PROVIDED BY:

Tracks:
1. Sick Addiction
2. Anomie
3. Why Can’t We Pretend?
4. Hanging by a Thread
5. Free to Fall
6. Hunter and Slayer
7. Beyond Wonderland

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