Dierdre - 'I've Come to Life' (Self-Released) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Gerald Stansbury   
Wednesday, 26 July 2017 04:00

Dierdre-Ive-Come-To-Life-2017Yes, she has come to life. It is a little strange for me to review this as an album as I collected each song as they were released over the course of a year or more. Arizona singer Dierdre has put together a very strong debut that establishes some artistic ground and provides multiple avenues to grow throughout her career. 


'Hit or Miss' gets the record started with a down tuned grunge rocker that aims for the likes of Soundgarden. Dierdre has a very powerful lower register that is immediately apparent with this as the opener. 'Hold Steady' lightens the mood with its tale of surviving the week to relish the weekend. Make no mistake though, the band maintains the heaviness, but the pace is quicker. There are some large background vocals on the chorus. This song would make a very solid single, as its impact is immediate. The song also makes very effective use of Dierdre's vocals with some impactful higher tones used as well. 


'Dead Inside' begins with a quiet guitar riff, and Dierdre then provides some soaring vocals. There is a power in her voice that is brought to the forefront on this churning heavy number. The light of 'Hold Steady' is quickly extinguished as this song addresses those times when the world crashes down and leaves us powerless. 'Wasted' follows with a modern rock beat and some excellent bass work by James Kulon. This is one of the newer songs by Dierdre for me, but it is one that is not grabbing me as much as the others. This could also be due to the fact that the following song 'Suffer' is one of my favorites. Pat Benatar would appreciate what the band does here as Dierdre shows off her range of vocals. The song has a strong hook and a cool guitar solo by Jimi Powers. 


'Thundercloud' swept right by me when it was released individually. Within the context of the album, its beauty moves into the middle of the album spot masterfully. It is a slow ballad by Ben Hall (Jesus Ponies) that mines some Alice In Chains territory and allows Dierdre to sing her ass off. It is a perfect song to close my eyes and go on a journey into my mind and soul in a way that Black Sabbath's 'Planet Caravan' also does for me. Each time it is a different journey but so rewarding. It is amazing to hear this song in a completely different light now and appreciate how much it now connects with my soul. Following that would not be easy, but, in the album format, the listener is flipping the record for the second half of the album. Another of my favorites follows in 'Black Widow' which increases the pace and plays perfectly into Dierdre's higher register. The chorus hits the listener hard, and Byron Carrick's riff leaves itself jammed in the head. The spoken word section lures the listener closer through the softness of the vocal before you are trapped back in the web of Dierdre's power.



'Life Coming Down' is a true duet in the sense that the vocals are so evenly split it could just as easily be on a Byron Carrick (Jesus Ponies) solo album. The song is built on a pretty acoustic riff that builds in strength on the second verse. This song should get the cell phones waving in the air in the live setting. The song builds but never in a power ballad way; it is the emotional intensity that creates the power. The title track follows and is one of my long-time favorites by Dierdre. This is a superb grunge that has hook after hook. This song also lends itself to be a single or on a movie soundtrack. 


'Between the Lines' is based on a cool guitar riff that allows Dierdre to shine vocally over the top of it. This straight ahead rocker continues to build and build in power with aggressive backing vocals expertly placed. I could see the band extending the guitar solo in the live setting for an extended jam before coming back to the vocal. 'No Way Out' starts softly and successfully channels the feelings and experiences that 'Thundercloud' does. The difference here is the inherent darkness in the song. I think of this song as telling the story of a journey into the dark places of a soul where we find ourselves showing a resilience we didn't know we had to overcome challenges and barriers put in our way. This would be another highlight in a live setting. Wrapping up the record is the uptempo rocker 'Your Heart is Black.' Mike Bolenbach shows off his lead guitar work here. The vocal hook is extremely strong and leaves the listener ending the record on a rocking note. 


The production work by Mike Bolenbach, Byron Carrick, and Ben Hall allows the vocals to shine on the record while musically being at home sonically with the likes of Soundgarden, Candlebox, the Pretty Reckless, and a touch of Halestorm accessibility on some songs. Dierdre has embraced a strong supporting cast with a core group helping her write the album. She has credits on eight of the 12 songs, with a combination of Bolenbach, Carrick, and Hall having writing credits scattered throughout the album. 


It would have been easy for this to have just been a collection of songs based on how they were individually released prior to the album being released. The sequencing of the songs has been very well done to allow the songs to flow and complement one another. Dierdre has put forward a very strong debut that should appeal to a multitude of people as it cuts across several rock genres. Do yourself a favor and get familiar with Dierdre. 


‘I’ve Come to Life’ is out now. You can get your copy HERE.




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