I posted this review a couple of hours ago on the Sputnik Music website:
This album by Long Island singer/songwriter Cassandra House is like a musical Bermuda Triangle -- it exists in the in-between. At eight tracks long, it's in between being an LP and an EP. The genre of the music falls somewhere in between folk-pop, country and blues. Finally, while many vocalists lean in the direction of either power or beauty, House's voice once again is nearly exactly in the middle -- I'd give her about a 7.5 out of 10 on the beauty scale, and an 8 to 8.5 on the power scale. Her real strength, though, is what she's able to do with that voice. Ms. House is one of the most interesting interpretive singers I've heard in awhile. She doesn't annoy you with unnecessary vocal trills, but she varies things up in such a way as to keep her vocals consistently interesting.
The Roam is House's first (pretty much) full-length album. It's very nicely produced for an indie album -- there are tasteful vocal effects and interesting little instrumental flourishes throughout. I noticed this on the first listen, and then when I checked her website, I could see why -- the album was produced by Ben Wisch, a Grammy-winning producer who has worked with artists such as Marc Cohn and Patty Larkin.
As for the songwriting, I'll admit it didn't grab me at first. This is one of those albums, though, where the songs grow on you with repeated listens. "Little Flower" is as good a country-pop single as I've heard in a long time, and "Tidal", a slow, tense track, is almost as good. In fact, for a first (almost) LP, this is a very mature album.
House's bio says that she has shared the stage with artists such as Lucy Kaplansky, G. Love, Amy Helm, Jen Chapin and Todd Scheaffer (of Railroad Earth). I haven't seen her live show, but if it's anywhere near as good as her recorded efforts here on The Roam, I expect to see her go from a regional artist to a national headlining artist sometime within the next two years. This album is that good.
Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars