CD review: UNEXPECTED
By: Dan Brisebois
Sonic dance rhythms blended with slick production are the elements to Stephanie Braganza's debut, UNEXPECTED.
Starting from the lead off "Painting Rainbows," and not ending until the final beats of track #12 "Shine," the album itself is a portrait of colours and moods, painted with a myriad of emotions and with vibrant strokes. The Toronto native has studied under such greats as Rik Emmett, Pat LaBarbera, and Trish Colter, and sang with funk/R&B band Blue Jackets Required, rapper Belly and Ginuwine.
She's taking the dance world in her hand with this collection of rivoting originals that combine elements of pop, synthesized techno, Euro-dance, effects riddled guitars and the ultimate dance beats. "In The Rain" is one of just a handful of samples of producer Colin Stewart's drive towards an album that isn't labelled unfairly under one category. With the effects peddle on overdrive, the song's guitar work alone is more suitable at first listen to a Velvet Revolver song. But as the record progresses through songs like the title track, "Good 2 Be," and "When We Last Kissed," her true versatility is seen in a new light - an atmospheric soundscape she calls 'dark pop.'
The synthesizers mixed with Stephanie's natural sensuality haunts the listener in songs like "Impractical" and "So Uneasy" are straight out, well produced with no frills potential dance club hits, while her jazz and funk influences are showcased in "Let Me."
"Risk" and "Shine" are possibly the most experimental of the tracks, rounding out this exceptional first time effort. With the sonic tapestry in songs that have an uncanny ability to hit a common nerve, there are only bright things are ahead for her.