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Gina French: Press

How could I resist this album title? Or the multi-layered romantic cover art, which turned out to be a perfect representation of the music inside? And as if that weren't enough, I was a goner the second I heard Gina French's voice. I had to go back and play the first song again as soon as it ended because I'd spent most of it trying to describe that voice. I'll let this do for now: Imagine Shirley Manson had a little sister with the same sneer and the same wild spirit, but with an exotic sense of romance and sensual abandonment normally found in gothic novels. Longtime fans will protest that this description barely scratches the surface, but hey, I'm new to this one. Give me a break. Besides, you guys already used up the best words in your fan comments on CD Baby: "Bewitching," "intense," "reflective," "growls and smolders." Come on, people. Don't make me spend all night hunting around on Thesaurus.com. The opening track, "Hard Way," is a straight-up rock ballad with some magical threads woven through it. In this particular song, I'd describe her delivery as "pure rock chick," but French is just getting warmed up. In each song that follows, we get smooth grooves, exotic stirrings, feline purrings, and images that seduce the mind's eye. From "Break the Silence": Tight rope walking over this black hole existence Sends you into a state of disarray Like a fiery tidal wave You've got to let it give way ... The title track is a glorious, expansive, Middle-Eastern influenced love song that had me looking up the definition of a "dumbek." (It's a Turkish, goblet-shaped drum, played lightly with the fingers rather than the palms. Just the sensual playing style needed for that instrument makes it a perfect choice for this music.) French lets her heart roam wherever it wants, unapologetically throwing in a surprising bit of twang in "Spring's Angel" and a duet with her voice and an electric guitar in "Spanish Lace." From beginning to end, this album is a rising tide of mystic energy that narrowly skirts New Age territory and goes right for the gritty rock and roll vibe. (Eat your hearts out, CD Baby fans.) I had to smile when I heard "Something About the Night," as French seems to have written her own CD review: After hour rhythms stir the primitive in me Steel sounds, lively crowds Then it all kicks in Something about the night Brings on this surrender ... Really, that's all you need to know.

Jennifer Layton - Indie - Music.com

Gina French has more soul than Al Green french-kissing Tina Turner. She is the only folk artist I know that takes the sexiest parts of the blues, rock and alt-country and mixes it with Middle Eastern scale progressions. She then lathers everything over with hedonistic amounts of Bill Frost slide guitar, growly, yowly vocals that wail and zing like the whine of cupid’s deadly arrows, transcendent chord changes and heart-of-darkness acoustic strumming. Zithery Indian sounds color up "Of Rapture" and "Rings True," and old-time country flavors give "Spring’s Angel" a nostalgically bittersweet edge

Admiral Grainne O'Malley the Pegleg - Slug Magazine

Let me make one thing perfectly clear: French has the pipes and the passion to kick butt on any pop diva soulfully warbling out there today. She has great power, range and understanding of dynamics. She is capable of both great strength and tenderness in her singing style. She also has a great band backing her up. The players assembled here are tight and loose at the same time, all in the right way. They know these songs but they feel them too. They each compliment the songs and give them punch without ever overpowering the melody and song itself. They are a strong undercurrent throughout the CD. And that brings me to the songs. Many of the songs like “Hard Way” and the exotic and swirling title track “Of Rapture” seem to growl and smolder out of your speakers. Then some like “Spring’s Angel” are truly gently sweet and moving. OK that’s three things. French has tremendous pipes, a fabulous band and a rapturous collection of songs on “Rapture”. Got it? This is a powerful and highly enjoyable CD from start to finish.

Stacey Board - Muse's Muse

Songstress Gina French’s second album in seven—count ’em, seven—years features a full backing band, a palpable rock edge and sleek production by Tom Cram (ex of Honest Engine) but still comes across as charming as her solo acoustic debut, Sacred Ground. French’s voice remains a bewitchingly expressive asset and, in the hands of her band, the candid, well-smithed songs simply leap to life. Rapture? Yer darn tootin.’

Randy Harward - Salt Lake City Weekly

With Of Rapture, Gina French sheds her introspective acoustic persona for that of a growling, howling rocker. The intense, reflective lyrics that highlighted her 1997 debut, Sacred Ground, remain, but this time she has framed them with electric guitars, exotic woodwinds and a percussive back beat. The album, which took four years to complete, flows from song to song, held together by French's personality. Her core group of musicians include guitarist Bill Frost (some of his most tasteful work) and a rock-solid rhythm section of bassist Lance Lee and drummer Adam Sorensen. Even though the album was created in a piecemeal fashion, it remains delightfully full-blooded.

Martin Renzhofer - Salt Lake Tribune

Gina French has one of those voices that can sing just about anything and have you listening intently. On her second album she has a bluesy sound and some fabulous songs. "Break the Silence" revolves round a strong guitar line and French singing of breaking free from constraints. The title track was apparently inspired by the film "The English Patient" and it speaks compellingly of consuming passion. "You have awakened this world inside me one universe, with no boundaries I will give you full surrender" she sings. The music sounds Middle eastern, no doubt thanks to the use of a dumbek. The splendid "Something About The Night" rocks out, sounding like a subtler Bonnie Raitt. French's volcanic voice is in fine fettle as she sings of coming to life at night. "Unleash" continues the theme from the title track, but perhaps a little less ecstatically. We end with a bonus track, which turns out to be an early version of the title song. This is a powerful record all round and one that would sell plenty in a fair world.

Anna Maria Stjärnell - Collectedsounds.com