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December 2002

Lori Carsillo
Bittersweet
Tru Blu Lu

Imagine a grand Nob Hill mansion without a furnace and you'll understand the problem with San Franciscan Lori Carsillo's aptly title Bittersweet (Tru Blue Lu). Carsillo is an extremely capable singer, with a lovely voice, superb phrasing, an impressive range and a studied ear for the finer affectations of Nancy Wilson and Peggy Lee. But there's no fire, no fervor. Her technical proficiency is undermined by a nagging emotional disconnect that plagues nine of the album's 10 tracks. There's no fanciful yearning in "Skylark," no anticipatory foreplay in "You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To," no stifled passion in "Where Flamingos Fly." "Falling in Love With Love" is stripped bare of romantic disillusionment (or even mere disappointment), and on "Get Out of Town," a song defined by the irresistibility of dangerously combustible relationships, Carsillo barely breaks a sweat. In fairness, though, her "Some Cats Know" is sly and astute, proving that Carsillo, who's clearly got the chops, can cook up something truly delectable with just a little heat.

Originally published in December 2002
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