Into Heaven

Sun Palace

Drake Entertainment, 2000

REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert


What do you get when you cross Billy Idol's drummer, a former guitarist with the Smithereens, an ethereal vocalist whose work was profoundly affected by the death of her parents, and one of LL Cool J's producers? Well, you either get a really weird joke, or you get Sun Palace, one of the acts getting some critical notice in the US Northeast. Sun Palace now has a debut CD available, my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Into Heaven, and it's….interesting. (Sorry, I know it's an overused term, but it fits.)

Sun Palace is definitely an acquired taste. Superficially, they fall somewhere between the Cowboy Junkies and Enya; lead vocalist Andriette Redmann has an understated, soft, and breathy voice similar to Margo Timmins, albeit better articulated. Sun Palace's sound is similar to the Junkies as well; a lot of understated guitar work, blended instrumental sound, and even, smooth tempos. This is not exactly musical espresso here; it's more like caffeine-free herb tea.

Given that caveat, it's decent herb tea. The musicianship on this CD is first rate; the guitar work of Danny Kelly and former Smithereens member John D. Rokosny is excellent, drummer Mark Brotter has a nice touch with his cymbal- and snare-driven sound, and the other musicians blend into a seamless whole behind Redmann's clear, crystalline vocals.

The problem, though -- and there is one, DV Faithful -- is that it's TOO seamless. Sun Palace is, at times, kinda dull. There are some notable exceptions -- "There Once Was A Time", the complex synthesizer lines of "My Fortune", the Waterboys-like horn line on "Are You Thinking Of Me", and a pretty good cover of Jethro Tull's "Skating Away (On The Thin Ice Of A New Day)" -- but frankly there really needed to be less perfect elegance and a bit more grit on this CD. Redmann has stated that the songs on Into Heaven were inspired by the sudden death of her parents. I can empathize, having lost both parents myself, but I feel like perhaps Redmann is distancing herself from the pain she feels. A bit more honest emotion might have turned what is, at times, a good CD into an excellent one.

Sun Palace is worth looking into; they're a good band, and I suspect they're going to get better. But on a fundamental level, Into Heaven never quite fulfills the promise inherent in the band.

Rating: B-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2002 Duke Egbert and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Drake Entertainment, and is used for informational purposes only.