Janice Hall Suspended

The sweet voice of Ottawa's Janice Hall pervades her first EP release, Suspended. The singer/songwriter shows a tremendous amount of potential with the neatly picked six songs. All the tunes have a similar folk acoustic feel that emphasis the strength of emotion, which is the driving force behind all of the music. In an age of female singer/songwriter, Hall's sound still manages to carve a unique niche. She skilfully avoids the pop pratfalls that can turn sweet songs into overplayed radio pap. The sound is sparse with a gentle rhythm guitar, a steady beat and the occasional colour of an electric guitar and organ. The emphasis is clearly on Hall's high pitch voice that carries her carefully chosen words and crafted melodies to the listener. She flirts with a more produced sound by the album's end. A drum loop and somewhat out of place guitar feedback mars the strange and somewhat confusing ending of "Empty Hand," the EP's fifth track. This track is a mere blip in an otherwise smart and nicely produced package. (Leep)