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Tina Dico, for those who haven't heard of her, is one of the female vocalists from Zero 7 and In the Red is her first full length album. It was released in January 2006 under the Finest Gramophone label.
She is apparently hailed as a more modern version of Joni Mitchell but I'm not all that familiar so can't say for sure. She could be categorised with artists such as Katie Melua and Norah Jones but with a slightly rougher tone.
Her sound is soulful; she has a really satisfyingly rich tone of voice which has the ability to both sooth but also to reflect quite raw and relatable emotion. She floats somewhere between folk, pop, soul and probably a number of other types of music.
I initially downloaded a couple of tracks from this album when she came up in my list of recommendations on Amazon. I was instantly hooked on Warm Sand and decided to save my pennies and splash out on this album. It cost £8.99 on Amazon at the time of purchase and bids start as low as £2 on Ebay.
The relationship between this album and myself didn't start out too well, first before I even got it because of problems with Amazon and then secondly because when transferring the album onto my minidisk player, I didn't transfer all of the tracks. To begin with I would definitely recommend listening to the album as a whole. It is only when you hear how well put together it is that you can really appreciate it. It certainly redeemed itself from the bad first impression I got from the one or two out of order tracks I had while sitting on the train to Brighton.
So, the tracks themselves-
Initially haunting leading into a melodic tale of concern. An observational tirade on a past love perhaps? She has a strong and direct and warm voice in this track, this is almost paralleled by the harmonies of the backing vocals and understated orchestral backing. This track achieves a juxtaposition of warmth with her voice and a haunting sense of cool with the subject matter.
This is the track which prompted me to initially buy the album. It's the kind of track which transports you elsewhere. The chorus literally makes you feel as she feels, distracted and in a far away place but the soulful verses give a sense of loss and disappointment. A very catchy ditty which showcases her brilliant voice really well.
An acoustic and simple opening highlights the emotion of this song, singing to someone she wants to understand but knows that she doesn't. Between moments of soft acoustic melody she lifts the tempo to a kind of confrontational tone with an electronic backing in parts and harmonious backings in the instrumental section in the middle.
A more complex opening than other tracks so far, the instrumentals initially leave you expecting a more 'complicated' track, but it throws you when it leads into a simple and quite sedate vocal. It conjures images of the city at night, cold and still but filled with shadows.
A more up tempo beginning very well placed as at this point another sedate or 'painful' track might make this album somewhat overbearing. I really like this track, it addresses those of us in an in-between stage, obviously I don't know how everyone else would relate to this track but it definitely strikes a chord with me. A very catchy track, I'm sure that you know what I mean when I say that it would be the second one that they would probably release on single of all the tracks on the album. More specifically it has a pacey acoustic guitar, piano and some moments with the string section!
In The Red-
The title track. A sedate track again with piano and acoustic guitar, a format she obviously favours. A quite personal love song describing the sacrifice and risk involved in committing to a relationship. Simply written, she doesn't overstate anything in this track, the chorus is very catchy in that it's repeated quite a lot but this doesn't take anything away from it. This reminds you of her involvement with Zero 7 but imagine having the vocals in favour of the instrumentals whereas Zero 7 would favour instrumental over vocal.
This track is characterised more by the soulful vocals at the beginning with hints of something more. Leading into the main part of the song which demonstrates well crafted lyrics (although what in God's name is a head shop!?!). This song is definitely carried by the vocals; it has the standard drums and piano in the background with the electric guitar setting a more soulful tone. The lyrics seem to concern a woman let down, waiting for someone who never comes......poor love!
This offers another soulful and emotional conversation to someone she must have dumped! She captures the emotions involved in knowing when you have hurt someone else and the way you automatically try to make them feel better. This is another track carried by her voice; she demonstrates pain with her tone of voice exceptionally well. A sort of steppy piano accompaniment runs through it with the strings giving the added sense of tension.
Room With a View-
This simple track transports you to the world of the creative types. Again, I can only describe the track as I hear it but I imagine a writer with writers block watching the world go by in the autumn. It's a warm track characterised by what I think is a cello (something big with strings anyway) and a simple acoustic accompaniment. The lyrics concern some kind of struggle but the sound goes against this with an almost lazy tone.
This is a very emotional song; we see how she sees herself via a lover. You get a sense of disappointment that she has in herself. It's quite a dark song, mostly set by her soulful tone of voice. Initially I wasn't sure about this track, there's quite a lot of warbling (for lack of a better word), but its growing on me.
The opening of this track once more draws similar tones to Zero 7. She showcases her voice well again in this track; it's another one of those tracks which address something to everyone. I struggle with describing this one!! Acoustic guitars, haunting backing vocals and a simple vocal track which doesn't try any to be anything other than simple.
A slow and soothing track, the kind of song that you can lie on your bed and get lost in your own thoughts listening to. Personally it's the sound of this track rather than the lyrics that are prominent; it's very simple with lingering notes. She sooths you with her voice and I think this was probably the intention, the lyrics themselves are secondary in my humble opinion.
I really enjoyed this album. I would definitely say that initially, until you become more familiar, it functions better as a whole, this allows you to appreciate how well crafted it is. She has a gorgeous tone to her voice which really didn't disappoint in any way. Yes some of the tracks may be less about the lyrics and more about showcasing her voice at times, but to be honest, I can forgive that! I would heartily recommend this as a full on soul soother.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
2 Warm Sand
3 Nobody's Man
5 Give In
6 In the Red
7 Head Shop
8 Use Me
9 Room with a View
10 My Mirror
12 Long Goodbye
Disc #2 Tracklisting
1 One [Live][*]
2 Break of Day [Live][*]
3 Craftsmanship and Poetry [Live][#][*]
4 Use Me [Live][*]
5 Room with a View [Live][*]
6 Don't Think Twice [Live][#][*]
7 Magic [Live][*]
8 Warm Sand [Live][*]
9 Undone [Live][#][*]
10 In the Red [Live][*]
11 Back Were We Started [Live][*]
12 When You're Away [B-Side][*]
13 Lost in Art [B-Side][*]