After releasing her debut record on Vertical Records in 2002 and briefly joining the touring circuits, Kara Williamson (then just Kara) seemed to have disappeared for a time. Now she is back with a new label home, a new outlook, and a new record quite appropriately titled Undisguised. While Kara doesn't break any new ground musically or lyrically, Undisguised is a solid effort well-crafted for the Christian radio format.
Kara's latest work begins with the energetic "Bring It On." With its catchy "na-na's" and upfront lyrical content (the song's bridge boldly proclaims "If you're looking for a pity party/ You won't find one here"), Kara seems unafraid of and ready for whatever life may bring. Unfortunately the energy in that tune seemed to be lacking from the following few tracks. Although these songs ("Where You Are," "More Than Enough," and "O Wounded King") display Kara's honesty, the lyrics and arrangements may send some listeners searching for the "skip" button. However Kara revisits the upbeat vibe again with "Everything I Need You Are," which boasts driving, piano-based rhythms and nicely layered vocals. (Sound interesting? Listen, because it is!) While the title track brings to mind the likes of Joy Williams with its soft beginning and upbeat chorus, others such as "Love is for Always" and "Work it Out" show-off Kara's pop style which is a great fit for her voice.
One of the albums best cuts, though, is "Dear Performer," a confronting letter Kara wrote to herself. Even the listeners who may not appreciate the rich, beautiful arrangement, won't be able to help but admire and respect Kara's genuine honesty and personal lyrics. Finally, the album fades to a close with a cover of Michael W. Smith's "Never Been Unloved," where Kara's voice delivers nicely. All in all, Undisguised is a good album, but the seemingly familiar lyrical and musical content in places leave room for growth for the up-and-coming singer.- Review date: 2/13/05, written by Lauren Summerford
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