Cooler Heart

Deborah Vial

Last Beat Records, 2003

REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert


Let's get something straight from the beginning; Deborah Vial has a set of pipes that could be used to channel jet fuel. The woman can belt her heart out in a rich, throaty cry, and then turn around and purr like an alleycat outside a Paris bistro. In short, she can sing.

Reminiscent of Taylor Dayne with better songwriting or Laura Branigan with soul, Vial tears through the tracks on her latest CD, my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Cooler Heart. A longtime veteran of touring and performing (her website lists some pretty surreal acts she's opened for or played with -- I didn't even know Gino Vanelli was still sentient), Vial has been a staple of the women's music scene in Texas for some years. With Cooler Heart, she's finally getting some nationwide distribution. Frankly, this is a cool thing. Vial has some real talent.

While Vial is openly gay, don't make the mistake of hanging a label on her; that'd be as much of a mistake as hanging a genre label on her. While a good deal of her music is dance-based, she can drop into a soulful ballad or a techno groove without breaking a sweat. (What's interesting is that most music guides on-line list her as jazz. No, no, I wouldn't say this is jazz. Not at all.) The musicianship is competent without being terribly intrusive, and that's as it should be; the focus here is really Vial's flexible, expressive, and powerful vocals. Indeed, where Cooler Heart drags is towards the end; a couple of remixes, while different from the originals, muddy up things to the point where the vocals are lost. This is a minor quibble, though; for most of the CD, Vial's at full throttle and a delight to listen to.

Tracks of note include the opening "Crawl," a throaty, intense ultimatum to a lover that's both enticing and forbidding; the soft, wistful "Save Me"; the intense "Cooler Heart"; and the highlight of the disc, the torchy, incandescent "Little Crimes."

Fans of damn good female vocal pop shouldn't miss this brilliant CD. Cooler Heart will set your speakers on fire.

To find out more about Deborah Vial or how to order Cooler Heart, check here.

Rating: A-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2003 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 Last Beat Records, and is used for informational purposes only.