Singer/songwriter Sunday Lane has the story down. Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, she cultivated her love of music early. She learned classical music first and branched out to other forms later. Eventually she headed West, settling in Los Angeles and attending the Musicians Institute.
With a couple of EPs under her belt and a pair of songs featured on One Tree Hill, the arrival of From Where You Are is right on schedule to write the next chapter in the Sunday Lane story. Despite the familiarity of the tale, there’s something organic about what she brings to the table – even if it’s not all that original.
The good news is that Lane demonstrates a real sense for the commercially appealing melody. Her cute, slightly raspy voice matches well, giving even the most heartbreaking lyrics a twee quality that both hinders and harms.
For the most part, From Where You Are is an enjoyable album. It is pleasant and familiar, in a sort of American Idol way, but it is also mostly ordinary.
From the buoyant “Get to You” to the bouncy “A Little Too Young,” Lane’s sunshiny enthusiasm makes its appearance early and often. Despite the heartache found later, she sonically and philosophically appears to make a real effort to sparkle.
The anthemic “Light Up” is a potential arena-pleaser, with plenty of opportunities for raising lighters – or is it cellphones, now – in the air. With any luck, Sunday Lane will see this through.
“Let Me Go” is a plea for freedom, but the melody seems too strong for Lane’s voice and she gets overpowered by it. She is thankfully more adept at handling the sweeping, emotive “Painted Blue” and the similar-sounding “Waltzing with Fire.” Her smallness comes off as an asset in the latter tracks, but it can cause her to get lost in the grander arrangements.
Getting lost isn’t all bad, though, and Lane lays a substantial foundation with this record. Her songwriting chops are splendid and there are signs of importance to come should she benefit from a little more diversity in tone and a soupçon of possibility. Even in her gloomier moments, she has a tendency to play it to close to the chest.
Sunday Lane’s From Where You Are is a debut that assures of better things to come. That counts for a lot in these days of cookie cutter coffee shop acts and flavourless spectacles.