Chandelle is a Kauai-based rock trio with national potential. Singer/songwriter Jessica Penner is instantly appealing as the voice of the group. She eloquently describes the ups and downs of relationships, the thin line between love and hate, and the experience of obsessing over a recent conversation with that special someone. Each of Penner's vignettes offer interesting insights. (There must be a great story behind "Alaska.")
Penner rocks on guitar while the single-monikered Mandee and Kevin provide a solid rhythmic foundation. Co-producer Travis Saunders plays piano on four songs, augmenting the trio's powerful sound.
Think of the music of Sheryl Crow or Melissa Etheridge and, in the same vein, consider Chandelle.
The compilation title seems primarily a euphemism for Jawaiian, since a majority of the songs are of that genre. While several of the acts are poor-imitation Jamaican posers, others merit respect. One of the latter is Dez, who adds a sweet personal touch to a charming performance of "Give Me Your Love" when she giggles during the fade-out. Friday Eleneki takes a lightly reggae approach to "Cherry Love," and K O serves up a powerful potpourri of hot rock guitar, Hawaiian chant, Rastafari philosophy and faux-rasta posturing on "Fire."
Mky-Boy stands out among the acts who are exploring other styles. His "Home Grown Wahine" is a bright and bouncy mix of acoustic instruments, pidgin rap and the proud statement that "me no want no malihini in a G-string bikini!"
"Maui Style" succeeds in introducing several promising artists, but lacks helpful information about who they are.
Dean Lum Productions
The small print on this album reveals that is a reissue of an obscure project Lum originally put out years ago.
The background on Lum was that he sang in a beautiful falsetto voice when he and bassist Dean Shimabukuro were part of Frank DeLima's Na Kolohe in the early 1980s when the group was holding court at the Noodle Shop. The partnership with DeLima ended in 1984 after a problematic feature story on "the Deans" ran in what was then Honolulu's morning-only newspaper. Lum has continued to work since the breakup, but largely under the radar.
"Falsetto Style" was produced as a solo, multitracked project. Some of the recording techniques sound primitive, but Lum's guitar playing and falsetto treatment of standards such as "Akaka Falls" and "Kamalani Keaukaha" make this bare-bones reissue worth hearing.
John Berger, who has covered the local entertainment scene since 1972, writes reviews of recordings produced by Hawaii artists. See the Star-Bulletin's Today section on Fridays for the latest reviews. Contact John Berger at firstname.lastname@example.org