September 16, 2004

Test Spin: Lucia Micarelli

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Upon first look at the cover, I was taken aback by Lucia Micarelli’s timeless beauty, marked by her elegant jet-black hair and deep dark eyes. I then continued to sully her image by undressing her with my eyes as I leered at the liner notes and belted out Josh Groban’s hit single, “You Raise Me Up” (or “I Touch Myself” by The Divinyls) out loud. By the look of her nonchalant pose on the cover and the violin lying at her feet, I expected Micarelli to be merely a more attractive, and less hairy, version of Yanni. I was off, but not by much.

As concertmaster of Josh Groban’s 2004 “Closer” tour, Micarelli caught the audience’s attention with her whimsical barefoot antics on stage and emotionally wrought performances. Could she do the same on her debut CD? Much like Groban’s popera style of music, Micarelli tries to combine her classical training with various pop influences. She is wildly successful in “She is Like the Swallow,” a traditional Irish folksong delicately crooned by Leigh Nash of Sixpence None the Richer.

At other times she stumbles into tacky accompaniments with electronic beats, glossy bass guitar lines, and grandiose string runs, such as in “Lady Grinning Soul,” produced by David Bowie. Her last track even features a poignant, yet completely overproduced, sampling of “Bohemian Rhapsody,” conjuring up images of Wayne and Garth head-banging in a Benz instead of the more appropriate AMC Pacer. Luckily, most of the CD features her true talents in unembellished yet technically complex pieces where she can demonstrate her full range of musicianship.

Perhaps Micarelli should stick to stage performances, where she can show off her musical abilities while giving us something other than a CD cover at which to stare.

Archived article by Ed Kim
Red Letter Daze Contributor