Reviewed by Eugenia Vela.
Music is inevitably connected to mood, which is why one would come to believe that Los Angeles- based Juliette Commagere’s second album, The Procession, would appeal to the dark, brooding, tortured artist types. I suppose in a way, it does. Commagere, who’s also known as the keytarist and vocalist of Hello Stranger, combined elements that wouldn’t normally make sense and created a sombre collection which, to be honest, could’ve done with a little senselessness.
The Procession begins with “Eats From The Inside,” a beautiful song that tick tocks up to tribal booms and gasps of melancholy—it’s gorgeous, unexpected, a story of time with a kind of urgent sobriety that pulls you in, like a mystery. The trouble with this song? It leaves you with high expectations for the rest of the album. The second song’s an instant contrast to the first, which is sort of charming, the way it moves with air and breeze and speaks of a well-accepted jadedness.
But The Procession floats on, stuck in a completely acceptable yet mediocre place. We know of Commagere’s potential, and her voice and talent as a keytarist is still palpable, worthy. But she falls short in this 10-track collection that seems no different than many others which include beauty yet fail to surprise us past a certain point. In The Progression, anything past the second song is forgettable.
That’s not meant to say The Procession lies at the bottom, like a disappointment. There are moments in songs such as “Hovering in the Wings” which stand out in a way that allow a listener to focus on getting lost amidst the hazy, eerie harmonies. Commagere proves to be seducing in her music, because her voice never loses truth, never loses heartbreak or power. But like many people believe a mix tape should have ups and downs, like a roller coaster, The Progression should at least have consistency in its use of unexpected beats and twists, not lure us in then keep us in a middle. I hate the middle.