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Review: Beth Bombara is Looking Up

Nov 01, 2023

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by Lee Zimmerman August 4, 2023, 2:28 pm

Beth Bombara/It All Goes Up/Black Mesa Records 3.5 Out of Five Stars

Can we slow down / Long enough to take a polaroid picture / and wave it around / until the moment is material, Beth Bombara sings on “Moment,” the first of several mesmerizing tracks on her sensual and seductive new album, It All Goes Up, an impressive follow-up to her critically acclaimed effort, Evergreen. The question seems pertinent enough, given the fact that it finds her searching for something that can satisfy her sense of longing and desire. Each of these ten songs finds a change in mood and motivation, a reflection of an attempt to come across in an honest and open way.

Whether it’s the sheer exuberance expressed in “Lonely Walls,” the samba-like “What You Wanna Hear,” the contemplative musings of “Get On,” the folk-like finesse illuminating “Curious and Free,” the torrid temperament and darker designs shared in “Give Me A Reason,” or, conversely, the calming caress that wafts through “Electricity,” Bombara conveys her exacting emotions with a sense of both yearning and possibility. Her vocals vary from a waif-like hush to barely contained urgency, all in an attempt to fully express the fullest range of emotion. The rich instrumental embellishment underscores each offering, with synths and mellotrons adding to the precise production. Fortunately, Bombara and co-producer Kit Hamon adjust as the settings demand, ensuring the arrangements stay in sync with both the moods and melodies.

The result is a tasteful tapestry of shimmering sounds, all of which reflect Bombara at her best—that is, as a confident and compelling songstress who’s clearly come into her own. She shares a certain mystique, at times an elusive aura, but the listener never gets the sense that clarity and connection are ever out of reach. Given that perspective, It All Goes Up ought to bring Bombara some elevated interest.

Photo by Virginia Harold

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