Dancing on the Moon
Lisa Bell delivers the goods on her third album, mixing blues, jazz, pop, and roots into a bright, sparkling mix. Her voice can be both polished and loose, and shimmering washes of percussion, chimes, and layered instrumentation provide a worthy backdrop to her lyrics.
“Change Is Free,” the story of an unemployed woman facing daunting economic prospects, is the disc’s standout track, with a funky vibe, heavy beat, and touches of organ. Rather than embracing despair, she opts for change. “I can wait for the shining knight to save the day / I can pray that an angel comes my way... but change is up to me.” An accordion gives “After All” a mellow, European feel. It’s a song of struggle and redemption, accepting responsibility for past mistakes but moving on. Bell’s vocal perfectly suits the languorous tone of the hip-swaying bossa nova beat on “Misty Roses,” another highlight.
Bell gets loose with “Stand Up,” a quirky, danceable tune with prominent drums, organ, and electric guitar creating blasts of sound, and there is a comic element to “How Long,” in which a woman deals with insomnia and delayed flights while waiting to be reunited with her lover. Bell’s voice is full of yearning on “The Last Time,” in which an old love is renounced, with piano adding depth to this ballad.
The varied material on the disc provides plenty of opportunities for Bell to show off her versatile voice, which conveys longing, acceptance, hopefulness, anticipation, and joy in turn. With superb guitar and percussion throughout, it’s clear she is interested in each song not just as a showcase for herself but as a means of communication between artist and listener. Mostly, you get the sense that Bell loves what she’s doing and wants to share the beauty and excitement of these songs with you. Dancing On The Moon is an enjoyable outing of both smooth and improvisational songs, with an upbeat feel, and the blend of styles makes it perfect for the musically adventurous.