Whenever I listen to an album I’ve never heard before, especially if it’s from an artist which is new to me I close my eyes and allow the music to set me into a mood. I allow my mind to wander and form a picture based on the music. Every album has a story to tell; not only in the lyrics, but also in the way it is presented. Call Off The Search, by Kate Melua is no exception.
When I listened to Call Off The Search I felt soothed and relaxed. In my mind’s eye I was sitting at a small table in a darkened smoke filled jazz club, drinking distilled spirits at 4 in the morning while a soothing rain fell outside. I had pictures of the New York jazz underground and beat poets bearing black shirts.
Overall, the album is bluesy and warm. Her sultry voice reminiscent of Bernadette Peters or Ertha Kitt coos in the show tune like “My Aphrodisiac is You”. Her voice is soft, warm, and somewhat mournful in “The Closest Thing To Crazy”, and is youthful and full of life.
The instrumentation is simple. Katie plays guitar and sings vocals. She is often accompanied by tinkling piano, guitar, and muted trumpet. She is also backed a small orchestra in songs like “Faraway Voice” as well as in the title song, “Call Off the Search”.
Only 19 years old, this Republic of Georgia born and British educated singer is the future of the Blues/Jazz genre. She is already making a name for herself and is being compared to other young, attractive, and talented artists like Norah Jones.
Her style is much different than Norah’s. While Norah goes for the sultry seductive blues, Katie is more showy and playful. Like Norah though, she does stick mostly to songs penned by others. Ten of the songs on this album are written by others, while two are her very own. “Penguins and Cats” is lovely song with great vocals and instrumentation. “Faraway Voice”, her other self-penned song, is more mainstream and reminded me of Jewel, with echoed haunting lyrics and violin backing.
The best tracks are on the first half of the album, as the more pop-mainstream songs at the end of the album seem weaker compared to outstanding jazzy blues selections, but are also very good.
Though not as refined as other more established artists, Call Off The Search is still a delightful debut album from this up-and-coming talent. She is only 19, and with age comes wisdom and life experience which will only help this talent and sculp her and her work into something magnificant. I wouldn’t be surprised if just a few brief years down the road we see Katie accepting an award for best album or artist.