Is This Me?

by

comment

It takes some courage to title a new song "Promised Land" in 2008. Carolyn Striho's "Promised Land" isn't the best track on her new four-song EP. It may be the one, however, that best expresses its message via its mood in no uncertain terms. It isn't at all reminiscent of Springsteen's hope-in-the-face-of-despair anthem in its tone, nor even the more cynical but still humorous (humor = hope) "Promised Land" by one Mr. Chuck Berry as covered by Elvis Presley and thousands of others over the years. Striho's "Promised Land" is dissonant electro-pop, with frightening stream-of-consciousness lyrics, appropriate for the zeitgeist following eight years of Bush. But it rocks nevertheless. And rock can also mean hope — even at this late date.

Is This Me? is exceptionally good. The internationally renowned Detroit artist's voice is, at turns, warm, rich, idiosyncratic and, at times, just plain (in a good way) eccentric. "Tiara" opens things on a violin-driven, downbeat, almost mournful but still melodically beautiful note. The appropriately titled "Ocean" is so Patti Smith influenced in its trippiness and mid-song chanting that it almost could be Patti Smith. And that's meant as a compliment — a big one. "Enchante" opens with a calliope-driven instrumental musical interlude before the lyrics kick in and it becomes a clash between the sounds of Barnum & Bailey and gypsys, tramps and thieves.

Good stuff. Four-and-a-half out of five, only because it leaves you wanting to hear more from this Motor City maven.

Bill Holdship is the music editor of Metro Times Send comments to bholdship@metrotimes.com.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at letters@metrotimes.com.

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.