It has been two years since Lanae' Hale released her debut self-titled EP. However, since then, Lanae' has been
signed by Centricity, and has now released her first full-length project, Back and Forth.
The album opens with the title track, a song that would be, and may be, a strong single on radio for Lanae.
The song describes how life throws challenges at us, but at the end of the day God is always there. Lanae's breathy
vocals are a treat to listen to, giving her the ability to sing softly, but also to give emphasis to stronger lyrics.
The next couple of tracks, "Beautiful Things" and "Here"s my Heart" follow the same pattern. It is easy to draw
similarities in these songs to offerings from Sixpence None the Richer, but at the same time everything sounds fresh.
"Burning Heartbeats" brings back memories of Lanae"s debut EP. The song has an acoustic feel to it, but by the time
the chorus kicks in Lanae's new style comes back. This feels like a transition song, and goes to show how well this
project has been put together. Back and Forth contains a number of other acoustic songs, including
"Let"s Grow Old Together" (which has that iPod advert feel to it), "It's Over," and "Don't Cry."
The album also contains an anthemic song called "Here's To The Girls." The idea of "girl-power" songs seems to be
becoming a tradition for female artists in today's music world. Most of the time these songs can be cheesy,
but not this one. Lanae' manages to pull off a female anthem and make it sound good. However, it may make the project
seem a bit girly for some people, which is unfortunate.
There is a lot to like on Lanae' Hale's first full-length album, and all of it is well crafted, making a strong
debut. If you like artists such as Sixpence None the Richer and Nichole Nordeman or the secular artists KT Tunstall and
Faith Hill, you will love Back & Forth. If not, still give this record a listen anyway, it is well worth it!
- Review date: 5/17/09, written by David Couch of Jesusfreakhideout.com
We were first introduced to Centricity's Lanae' Hale in fall of 2007 with an EP
showcasing a more acoustic-based, light pop sound, and a heart-wrenching testimony. However, her debut takes a
drastic shift in style. Back & Forth is very modern and radio-ready, getting rid of the sparse
arrangements in favor of programmed synths and catchy pop beats, most likely highly influenced by producer
Mark Hammond. But that's not to say that Lanae' has "sold out." In fact, it's the production that makes the
album stand admist the CCM community. Hale's unique, rough-around-the-edges voice is also a positive attribute
of the record. Song highlights on Back & Forth include the too-catchy-to-not-sing-along-with title
track, "Burning Heartbeats," the reflective "Headed Home," and the Skillet-like orchestration of "If I'm Broken."
But for the EP fans, no worries---there are two softer, more mellow songs ("Don't Cry," "It's Over") included
for you. Also, two beautiful acoustic tracks are added brilliantly as bonus songs. There's no doubt that Lanae'
will go far and this debut should not be overlooked. This is the best pop album I've heard in
quite a while. Bravo, Lanae'!
- Matthew Watson