Album Review of Undercurrent by Breaking Down Sound

Posted by Michele McLaughlin on May 12, 2015

A fantastic review of Undercurrent has been posted by
Breaking Down Sound.  A huge THANK YOU to Andrew Greenhalgh!!  I am so glad you liked the album!!  

Review: Michele McLaughlin – Undercurrent

There’s something remarkably evocative about a piece of music performed on a solo piano. Few instruments boast the ability to convey such rich powerful emotion, providing a symphony of sound within the framework of eighty-eight keys. Of course, the true outcome lies not only in the instrument but in the musician and longtime instrumental recording artist Michele McLaughlin is well up to the task with her latest work,  Undercurrent.
McLaughlin has made a name for herself over the course of fifteen independent recordings, the artist making great strides in the New Age market and garnering plenty of acclaim and regard for her solo piano work. That work, inspired by her mother’s influence and fueled by the power of the piano and its emotive nature, has moved many and will no doubt continue to gather fans around with this latest release.

Undercurrent finds its basis in the artist’s recent move away from her sister, a connection that provided her a source of being, and she mines that material for the deep emotions within, the sense of loneliness, frustration, and heartbreak that can often accompany such parting. “I was inspired by Plato’s quote ‘Always be kind for everyone is fighting a hard battle.’ Moving into a new house after living near my sister was hard. And even though I’m a single woman, which I enjoy, and I love my new space, there are times when I miss companionship and I’m lonely. The term ‘undercurrent’ just seemed to fit that theme. “ It’s a cathartic experience for the artist, who admittedly turns to music as one of her premier places of therapy. And therapeutic may be just what 

Undercurrent turns out to be for the artist’s listeners as she delivers thirteen tracks of warm and heartfelt music. While the album may be based on themes of sadness, there’s an undercurrent (no pun intended) of hope that runs throughout the better part of the album. McLaughlin’s touch is well-practiced and intense but there’s a lightness that supersedes throughout even the darker moments. The title track provides some of those darker moments, somber moments reflected with restless energy on one of the album’s highlight tracks while “The Space Between” provides some gentle moments of just that, listening space, that coincide with a brightly beautiful composition. “11,000 Miles” seems anchored in hope, McLaughlin’s bright tones shimmering throughout while “Changing Skies” provide a more subdued tempo, the arrangement still tinged with bright notes but perhaps anticipating the coming storm as the title suggests.
Simple beauty covers “Living In Awe” as “Full of Love” follows suit, the song almost ringing true and rivaling a wedding march. There’s an energy and purpose to “Starstuff,” the track bristling underneath with a sense of “movement before “Never Give Up” eases in with unrelenting, heartfelt hope that is gently given and gently received. “Evolution” carries similar themes while the musically autobiographical “On My Own” hinges on a minor chord underlying the track that hints at the artist’s sense of loss before giving itself over to “Melody In Motion,” a sprightly arrangement that bristles with brightness. A rich warmth surrounds “Stepping Stones” and sets the tone for album closer, “Synesthesia,” which finds the artist ending on a high note, the musical emotions flowing strong throughout. And emotion is what listeners are left feeling with as 
Undercurrent comes to an end, emotions filled with love, longing, and loss.
Covering it all is an underlying sense of hope, delivered masterfully by Michele McLaughlin’s skilled hands as she lays her heart on wings of music, sharing it with the world.
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Topics: music