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Peris' voice mars Innocence Mission debut album

THE INNOCENCE MISSION

The Innocence Mission.

A & M Records.

By SANDE CHEN

THE FIRST THING ONE NOTICES about The Innocence Mission is that Karen Peris' voice is very high and has the potential to become as annoying as Kate Bush's. Unfortunately, she's the only vocalist for the band. She also writes all the music and the lyrics.

Beyond her voice, though, there is some merit in her music. There is good chordal progression and harmonization, unlike some bands who know only one chord.

"Paper Dolls," the first song, opens The Innocence Mission's first album delicately, until Peris starts singing. Then, it begins to sound like a small church choir with stupid lyrics. "Black Sheep Wall," the first single, on the other hand, is actually enjoyable, although the beginning of it sounds like a symphony orchestra tuning. "Curious" is in the style of The Indigo Girls and if "Clear to You" were a bit faster, it could be The Ocean Blue.

For the most part, the music is well-written. "Broken Circle" and "You Chase the Light" incorporate piano nicely. In particular, "Mercy," "Wonder of Birds," and the sweeping "Notebook" are very good.

Some of the lyrics are trite. However, in all 13 songs there is substance. Peris writes truthfully about emotions, the ways to love and fear at the same time. Each song is written in first person, thereby conveying a strong personal testimony. They are lengthy and show depth.

In general, if one can stand Peris' voice, this is an impressive debut for The Innocence Mission. Otherwise, the album soon becomes very grating.