New-York-based Deni is a flame-haired violin ace with a Big Personality, who’s played alongside Cyndi Lauper, REM and Sarah McLachlan in her time. Her website tells it thus: “Deni is a classically trained musician who simply had too much energy and too many great original tunes to be confined in an orchestra”. So OK, she’s been well and truly let off the leash here. So far so good.
But Deni’s also known as a fiery singer-songwriter. So what might you expect from a new solo album from Deni? Well, maybe not this wholesale change of tack, a whole clutch of instrumentals, which include able covers of Frankenstein (Edgar Winter) and Nuages (Reinhardt/Grappelli) but the remainder are self-penned or co-written with band members. It’s all bright, shiny great fun – and for the most part really rocks – good ’n’ hard. This young lady has excitement and charisma in spades, but it does all seem a touch predictable in the cinematic stage-workout style of the band arrangements (these are exclusively electric, with pounding bass and drums and keyboards – the incorporation of acoustic guitar, on the lyrical Palisades, Primal Dream, Magic Wand, the impressionistic A Perfect Storm and of course Nuages, is by contrast refreshing). I can appreciate an all-instrumental album like the next man, but this all feels a touch relentless. If you took the heaviest-rocking number (the storming BBC2), along with Nuages and possibly Light This Candle and Opus 29, then you’d have a sparkling cracker of an EP, but at 55 minutes there’s far too much padding and too many numbers that strike a broadly similar posture and feel identikit. “Ultra-high voltage alt-rock and precision playing” notwithstanding.
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