Shannon LaBrie’s new album Just Be Honest opens with a surprise: the track “Secret” a down-tone R&B number sonically laced with a smooth jazz composition. The album’s next track “Lion’s Cage” gets a bit more soulful with breezy vocals and a slow guitar lead exuding exotic undertones. “Heartache Of Love” emotionally connects with ghostly vocals and a piano driven hook [the perfect track for a rainy day]. The album’s title track is uplifting and grandiose with a powerful chorus: convening some sense of hope to be found in heartbreak. For the album’s next track “I Remember A Boy” LaBrie switches it up with a fresh country sound; it’s not just a good song, but a very impressive showcase of her artistic versatility. “Love Somebody” gets more upbeat & exotic [in a similar manner as “Lion’s Cage”] before the album’s seventh track “How Does It Feel” [a personal favorite] returns to its earlier R&B roots, packed full of soul; we may have found the white Lauryn Hill here. Just Be Honest’s ninth song “Slow Dance” “slows” it down; allowing LaBrie’s soft & soulful vocals to take center stage: easy on the ears and a necessary display. “Take Me” infuses her uplifting sound with strumming Country instrumentals, making it a heartwarming & diverse little track.
“Headlines” proves that LaBrie has some serious contemporary radio playability, with a very similar sound to Natasha Bedingfield, before the album comes to a smooth close with the track “Last To Know.”This girl is a triple threat [quite literally]. Just Be Honest is a somehow effective/enjoyable blend of Soul, R&B, Country, Jazz, and Exotic sounds: all of which are saturated with LaBrie’s impressive vocal delivery. Be sure to grab your copy of the album on iTunes today and check out the video for “I Remember A boy” below.
Review By Matt Crane – HHM