As of late, alternative record label Tooth & Nail has been signing some rather non-alternative artists to its roster, in a bid, it seems, to broaden its appeal to a wider number of Christian music fans. Acoustic-pop sister duo Poema is the latest such addition, and in some ways seem to have been a rather inspired choice. The two sisters, Elle and Shealeen, never originally intended on becoming professional musicians, but encouragement from friends and family made them decide to give it a shot. Of course, one thing led to another (as these things do) and the sisters were noticed by a Tooth & Nail representative during one of their sets, which eventually led to the duo being signed on to the alternative music label and starting work on their debut EP with well-known producer Aaron Sprinkle.
The EP itself has a happy vibe to it, also managing to be upbeat as well as acoustic. From the very start, there are absolutely no pretensions that this is a "ballad-y slow pop project," as "2 AM" sets a catchy rhythm that is echoed by "City Boy." The pace slows down for the sweetly considerate ballad "Feel The Same Way," then picks itself up again in time for the chorus of "Echo Off The Sky." The EP concludes with the reminiscing "Safe To Say" and sad yet faithful "Blue Sweater." I wouldn't say that their sound is the next big thing since Taylor Swift because, quite frankly, they sometimes sound like an improved version of the big-hit country-pop singer. However, if I were given a choice between the aforementioned country-pop singer and Poema, I'd still choose Poema. Why? Well, they don't sound overproduced, candy-coated or standardised like most of the big-timers do; in other words, these girls have spirit. On the weaker side of things, "Sing It Out" has only one major failing: lyrical maturity. Sure, the lyrics come across as honest and genuine, but this particular reviewer found the teenage "boy-meets-girl, girl-falls-for-boy, boy-is-biggest-star-in-girl's-life" themes a wee bit soppy. As co-reviewer Roger Gelwicks also points out, we guys probably aren't the target audience of this EP. Still, there are many ways to write about love that are far more in depth and meaningful, and capture the heart's emotion in a way that is far more likely to touch you.
However you feel about the lyrical content, it's obvious that this small sister-duo band has got a certain spark about it that adds life to what might have otherwise been "just another acoustic-pop album." It's not perfect (and will anything ever be? I guess we can only keep hoping), but it aims in the right direction. Given some time travelling up that road, and a full length release, Poema could easily surpass where they're at now. It's things like that which give me something to look forward to from this band.- Review date: 3/21/10, written by Adam Dawson of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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