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One Cell in the Sea

203 customer reviews

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Audio CD, July 17, 2007
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

A Fine Frenzy is actually just a fine young singer-songwriter from Seattle, born Alison Sudol. A self-taught piano player, on her debut album she pairs sweeping orchestral arrangements with dreamlike lyrics inspired by the classic works of fantasy writers like CS Lewis, EB White, and Lewis Carroll. Add to that a propensity for frilly shirts and cryptic song titles such as "The Minnow & the Trout" and you half-expect to find a back alley Joanna Newsom. Instead Sudol specializes in accessible pop epics, the kind of songs that fit perfectly over the end credits of a great Hollywood tearjerker. Despite the gentle melancholia that runs through "Ashes and Wine" and "You Picked Me," each tune arrives wrapped in an exuberant melody and topped by the singer's commanding voice. On the disc's standout moment, "Almost Lover," she shows she can do simplicity as well, musing over a sublime piano medley, "Shoulda known you'd bring me heartache/ Oh, most lovers always do." --Aidin Vaziri

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Come On, Come Out
  2. The Minnow & The Trout
  3. Whisper
  4. You Picked Me
  5. Rangers
  6. Almost Lover
  7. Think of You
  8. Ashes and Wine
  9. Liar, Liar
  10. Last of Days
  11. Lifesize
  12. Near To You
  13. Hope for the Hopeless
  14. Borrowed Time

Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 17, 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Virgin Records
  • ASIN: B000QCK99E
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (203 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,848 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

121 of 130 people found the following review helpful By Joe Stubbs on July 21, 2007
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I can't remember what prompted me to order ths album. I had never heard of A Fine Frenzy or Alison Sudol, but something in the Amazon marketing machine suggested it to me-- whether it was recommended or a "deal" if I bought two, I don't know. I am sure a listened to the 30 sec. teasers, and gave it a shot.

I think Alison Sudol may have the loveliest voice I have heard since Sarah McLachlan and/or Eva Cassidy. That is a major concession from me. I am a lyrics lover to the core, and so far I am impressed. Maybe I am easy, but you will have to decide for yourself.
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166 of 184 people found the following review helpful By Matthew P. Burke on July 19, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Lately we've been greeted with a king's court full of singer/songwriters. I don't review their music too often and when I do, I can only draft a few terse sentences. For my part, I find many of them to be musicians, not artists. Musicians merely recite their compositions and, after a few repeat plays, I'm left hollow, finding little of themselves, their vulnerability, in the work. The artists, however, paint, weave, and sculpt with music, and you know what dangerous creatures they can be, cleverly lacing the notes with their aspirations, their fears, their essence. You can sense it in their voice, every syllable of the lyrics as they slip into you.

Such is the case with A Fine Frenzy. When I heard their album, One Cell in the Sea, I was struck by its dimensionality. With her vocal and writing talents, singer/songwriter Alison Sudol folds our hand into hers and guides us through her mysterious wonderland, conjuring picturesque landscapes with "Come On, Come Out", the excellent "Rangers", "You Picked Me" and "The Minnow and the Trout" and ensnaring us in sumptuous wine-dark woodlands with her intimate offerings "Almost Lover", "Hope for the Hopeless", "Near to You" and "Ashes and Wine".

By the time the final track, "Borrowed Time", concluded, I found myself in a well of thoughts and emotions, albeit delightedly so. Sudol has not only crafted an outstanding and bravely personal album, but a magical world I look forward to visiting time and again.
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52 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Russell Evansen on August 31, 2007
Format: Audio CD
I've always felt that the ability to write gorgeous songs with memorable hooks is a vastly underrated skill in the contemporary music world. It seems there is a premium placed on music that's bombastic, atonal, ironic, or in some way "inaccessible" to the masses. If most people can't hum it, that means it's authentic - at least that's the impression you get from reading most music criticism these days. Alison Sudol (aka A Fine Frenzy) has the gift of writing songs that hook you almost immediately with their soaring melodies, and her thoughtful lyrics belie her relatively young age. She may not yet be at the level of a Fiona Apple or Tori Amos when it comes to soul-baring confessionals, but for someone who's self-taught on the piano she is truly a remarkable talent. "One Cell in the Sea" is an impressive debut in many respects, and it's one of those records that gets under your skin the more you listen to it. You can clearly hear the influence of bands like Keane and Coldplay in spots, and at times her voice reminds me of Harriet Wheeler of the long-lost Sundays. If you're not one of those people who's allergic to beautiful, shimmering pop music (you know who you are, White Stripers) you should definitely check out A Fine Frenzy.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By amerdale876 on September 6, 2007
Format: Audio CD
A Fine Frenzy is actually one woman. You know, just like nine inch nails is Trent Reznor? A Fine Frenzy is the amazingly beautiful 22-year-old Alison Sudol who was born in Seattle but raised in Los Angeles. OK, OK. Let's get this out of the way so I can move on with the review. So where does she get a name like A Fine Frenzy from? Well, it comes from a quote in William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream: "The poet's eye, in a fine frenzy rolling doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven..." Sounds pretentious, doesn't it? Well, thankfully, you won't find any pretentiousness on Sudol's new debut album, One Cell in the Sea. Of course, being a woman who plays piano and sings with a flittering, angelic voice, she's bound to be compared to the likes of Tori Amos, Sarah McLachlan and Fiona Apple. However, Sudol is not as pretentious and weird as Amos (in case you couldn't tell, I don't like Tori Amos), nor is she as bluesy and full of bravado as Apple. I guess the best comparison is McLachlan, but there is still something different about Sudol that sets her apart from even that comparison. I think McLachlan sings more directly about relationships and doesn't have as many songs about simple storytelling like Sudol does.

In the first track, "Come On, Come Out," Sudol sounds most like Canuck Chantal Kreviazuk as she simply sings about life in a poetic metaphor. It's a wonderful intro to the album but doesn't dig too deep into what this album holds. "The Minnow & The Trout" delves more into Sudol's songwriting capabilities as she sings about two completely different things helping each other out. The piano on this track, like most of the album, reminds me of the likes of something you might hear out of Coldplay or even Philip Glass.
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38 of 48 people found the following review helpful By J. Schuyler on November 27, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Admittedly, my expectations for this album were through the roof, given its five-star rating here and other places. It's just that while I liked it fine, I was in no way blown away. She's talented and her voice is very pretty, certainly, but alas, she suffers from overproduction throughout most of the album, lending a frustratingly similar sound to each of the tracks -- each song is almost the exact same tempo, with her lovely voice obscured by needless drums and instrumental trickery. It's wholly unnecessary, and is very likely the fault of her producer, not the songstress herself. The result is an unfortunately homogeneous mix of what could be a sea of wondrous potential -- with the exception of "Almost Lover," which is lovely, haunting and appropriately spare, it's unlikely that I would be able to distinguish the songs with a 20-second browse through each.

Again, while she's got armloads of talent, I see little that distinguishes her from her contemporaries -- Anna Nalick, Brandi Carlile and even Vanessa Carlton bring a more unique sound than Sudol. Sara Bareilles would also be a good choice, if only for the tone of her voice. The second coming of women's music, Sudol is not. (And Tori Amos is such an unfair comparison and sets her up for failure in a big -- no, HUGE -- way)

In short: I wasn't as impressed as I expected to be, and given the ridiculously effusive reviews here, it seems only fair to temper them with someone who felt differently (though I see I have already been crucified with the "unhelpful" votes, which always cracks me up, because it usually means you disagree, which: great. Except that it's not really what that button is for).
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Track 7 - scratching noise
I have heard that. Oddly enough another album that is a favorite of mine this year 'Allright, Still" by lily Allen also has at least one moment with a similar record player sound. i even think it comes at the beginning of a song like the one on this album!
Oct 25, 2007 by jed clampett |  See all 3 posts
Robbed of Grammy Nominations!! Be the first to reply
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