Vanessa Daou moves somewhat away from the intense eroticism of Zipless on her second album, but it is a no less seductive or steamily crepuscular effort. Each of Slow to Burn's 11 songs pays homage to an influential female artisan, from musicians (Billie Holiday) to artists and poets (Gertrude Stein, Frida Kahlo) to actresses and dancers (Greta Garbo, Josephine Baker), whose life exemplifies complete liberation, artistic or otherwise. Peter Daou's music again grooves with a jazz edge -- keyboards and cymbals abound, with warm, creamy basslines and dance rhythms that are unusually suggestive rather than rampant -- but also moves from brooding to meditative, often within the same song. Rather than dancefloor fodder, the music seems as if it would be more at home in an after-hours club where movement is a narcotized haze. Peter Daou's playing and arrangements are impeccable and precise but can also have a haunting quality. In addition to the pervasive jazz influence, elements of gospel, R&B, dance, electronica, and even slight hints of Latin music enter the songs. "Evening" is like a long, slow drag on a cigarette, sexy and gorgeous with the underlying sense of hazard that is likely to be regretted the next morning, and many of the other songs share that sensuality. Vanessa Daou's lyrics alternate between longing, beguiling, and introspective. They are not always exactly poetry, but they are usually compelling and, married with Peter Daou's voice, it is enough to bring the music to full life. Her smoky whisper is vulnerability itself, pure late-night allure that is chilling because it acts as a spectral knife-edge, both empowering and dangerous. Her vocals are down in the mix, treated with echo, and some of her vocal phrasing (though not the vocals themselves) is reminiscent of Sade. And like Sade, Vanessa Daou has an icy veneer to her voice without ever coming off as frigid or overly calculated. In fact, it has just the opposite quality. Her singing is a gauzy, windswept curtain in the dark, and it equally draws you curiously closer to it and sends an eerie tingle through you because of what might be behind it. There is a reason that Slow to Burn is perfect post-midnight music. It is a subtle jolt of electricity that illuminates the blue darkness and makes all the shadows sparkle.
Performance CreditsVanessa Daou Primary Artist,Vocals,Background Vocals
Nicki Richards Background Vocals
Audrey Wheeler Background Vocals
Mike Caro Guitar
Peter Daou Piano,Keyboards
Stephanie James Background Vocals
Matt Hong Alto Saxophone,Soprano Saxophone
Douglas Oberhamer Trumpet,Flugelhorn
Technical CreditsDanny Madden Arranger,Vocal Arrangements
Peter Daou Programming,Producer
Vanessa Daou Paintings
Michael Lavine Artwork
Dana Vlcek Engineer
Kevin Reagan Art Direction
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Slow to Burn based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
What a cool album to listen to.