Arts & Entertainment

SARAH MCLACHLAN – LAWS OF ILLUSION

Canadian treasure Sarah McLachlan’s main asset is her creamy mezzo-soprano voice, and in material terms (let’s face it), the royalty cheques from “that” song from her best-selling 1997 album Surfacing.  Following a smattering of studio and live recordings, and a Christmas album, we have her latest flamboyantly polished offering. McLachlan’s thoughtful songwriting is certainly intact, Illusions of Bliss pulls at the heart-strings like the very best of MOR, and the bittersweet lilt of single Loving You Is Easy feels like a release of sorts, McLachlan seemingly revelling in her laid-back career confidence. Her piano still drives the songs with heart and clarity, though its somewhat processed sound amid the wash of echoey clean guitars and backwards reverbs makes these songs feel over-baked, with a sad lack of dynamic across the spectrum. It really sounds like we’re listening to the end credits sequences from a dozen romantic tragi-comedies. The one exception to this generalisation is the gently flowing Out of Tune, which captures something of the spareness of Springsteen’s Streets of Philadelphia. It’s all very nice-sounding, but short of that elusive killer hit tune, this polite album may quickly fade from memory.

**1/2