ALBUM REVIEW: Sandra-Mae Lux – Happily Ever Now

7/10

Sandra-Mae Lux - Happily Ever Now

London-based singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Sandra-Mae Lux introduces her first full-length album, Happily Ever Now. Written by Sandra-Mae and Alan D. Marriott, and produced by Gil Cang, the album features the talents of Robin Mullarkey (bass) and Toby Baker (keys), while Sandra-Mae handles saxophone, guitar, piano, and vocals.

Talking about the recording process, Sandra-Mae shares, “It’s been amazing. Everything was recorded at this funky studio in North London just full of vintage gear. For me, it was like a musical treasure box full of all the instruments that created the sounds of the albums I love. Y’know? The real gems, synths like a Minimoog or Juno-6, or that unmistakable sound of a real Rhodes or Wurlitzer. So all those incredible instruments combined with musicians who really knew how to get the most out of them was like…well, it was just a privilege to be in the room.”

Originally from Steveston, B.C., Sandra-Mae began performing for relatives at the age of 4. By the time she was 11, she played saxophone and piano, followed by purchasing her first guitar a year later. When she entered high school, she was playing in concert and jazz bands. Later, she majored in Jazz Studies on Saxophone at Capilano University, followed by appearing at the Ottawa International Jazz Festival with big names like Herbie Hancock and Dave Brubeck. Relocating to London, she began writing songs and laying down tracks for Happily Ever Now.

Encompassing 12-tracks, Happily Ever Now begins with “Gotta Get Away,” opening on gentle, graceful tones topped by Sandra-Mae’s creamy, vibrant voice backed by glowing harmonies. The melody exudes smooth jazz flavours riding a funk-lite rhythm.

Entry points include “Moment in the Sun,” giving Sandra-Mae the opportunity to strut her vivacious voice, chock-full of dazzling soulful timbres. “The River” features an elegant piano intro, low-slung and softly melancholic. Heartfelt vocals infuse the lyrics with tender, touching textures.

“Do U Wanna” drips with sexy viscous colours riding a measured rhythm topped by a braying organ and Sandra-Mae’s sultry, seductive voice. “I’m Still Here” rolls out on darker throbbing hues supported by a voluptuous funk-lite rhythm as the vocals imbue the tune with warm, amorous flavours. This track is outstanding because of its balmy flow and delicious brass accents.

The title track closes the album, delivering buttery jazz colouration infused with buoyant pop sparkle. Sandra-Mae’s voice, flavoured by tantalizing, bubbling sensual tones, imbues the lyrics with the infectious joie de vivre found in love. Wonderfully wrought, Happily Ever Now serves up silky, contagious music with à la mode flair.

 

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