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From the Boston Globe's Calendar section, Thursday, August 7, 1997

SARAH MCLACHLAN

SURFACING

Arista

In the three years since her last album, the Canadian songstress Sarah McLachlan recharged her batteries and beat writer's block. And the wait was worth it, as the queen of the Lilith Fair has surfaced with her finest recording yet. It's mellow, melancholy territory, and her cracked falsetto accents can seem forced. But McLachlan consistently sounds more natural and relaxed, weaving gorgeous melodies in "Angel" (about finding one's peace), "Do What You Have To Do," and the dreamy "I Love You," where her ethereal soprano floats on a higher plane. She nettles into such intimate themes without seeming too sad or cloying. Producer-keyboardist Pierre Marchand wraps McLachlan's guitars and piano in sparse, earthy layers. There's a tastefully distorted guitar break in "Witness" (where she muses, "Will we burn in heaven like we do down here?") and a weepy saw in the eerie lullaby "Last Dance." But it's McLachlan's voice that resonates throughout.

--PAUL ROBICHEAU


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