Music Review – Dirty Cheat

Album: Dirty Cheat
Artist: Laura Cole

There is something about Jazz and R&B influenced music that I find so raw and intense. And I find that these genres are the best at giving a voice to some of the most intense emotions. Laura Cole’s music is no exception. In her first all original album, Dirty Cheat, the songs are powerful and passionate, and are a reflection of Laura’s real life experiences with love and heartbreak.

Born into a musical family, Laura grew up in Ancaster, Ontario. Drawing from classic jazz inspirations like Etta James, Amy Winehouse, Aretha Franklin, and Billie Holiday, Laura has played at several venues in Ontario, including the Lula Lounge in Toronto.

Each track has the typical elements found in the jazz and R&B genres. The strong female vocals are very much the centrepiece, combined with muted drums that are led by the lead guitar. Additional instruments are added to the songs as needed to create the needed atmosphere. In that regard, Laura doesn’t bring anything new to the genre, but I really enjoyed her music all the same.

If I had to pick one track that stood out to me on this album it would have to be “On My Own”. The song begins with a beautifully rumbling bass guitar that leads the music down a path very different from the rest of the album. At times, there is a bit of a funk influence, but I think that is what makes this track appealing, and Laura’s singing is perfectly timed with the steady rhythm. Given the title, it strikes me that this song is extraordinarily clever, as I feel that is draws attention to the fact the Laura seems to march to the beat of her own drum.

“Let It Roll” is very different from the remainder of the album, as it has a very subtle country influence. Dominated by the vocals from the very beginning of the track, the singing is complimented by softer music and a slower beat, lending the feel of an emotional ballad. However, I do find that the repetition of the lyrics tend to be tiresome by the end of it.

“Dirty Cheat” is the final track on the album. The saying “leave them in tears” comes to mind when I listen to this song. The strong lyrics perfectly suit Laura’s equally potent voice, and she makes sure that long after you’ve listened to the album you will always remember her. The rhythm reminds me of songs like “Mustang Sally” with its in-your-face tough beats.

Overall, I enjoyed this album and was happy to hear that there are musicians still courageous enough to tackle such a potent and emotionally-driven sound like this, and pull it off with class.

The nine track album was released in August 21st last year and is available for streaming or purchase on Laura’s bandcamp page and on iTunes.

Samantha Stevens is an aspiring writer who loves combining her love for literature with photography, painting, music, and all creative pursuits.

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