Tumes - Listen
by Paul M. Carhart
Originally published in The Lighthouse Electronic
From the opening strains of the title track of this album, the music
itself states that Michelle Tumes is a pianist. Classically trained
in her native Australia, it is of little surprise that the first
song has a percussive throb to it, textured with piano, orchestration
and a choir of voices that blend seamlessly together, all of which
seem to belong to Michelle Tumes. Indeed, Listen has that
epic feeling that one gets when going to see Handel's Messiah or
an Andrew Lloyd Webber play.
voice is smooth and endearing, laced with her Australian accent
and sometimes having a whispering effect. Not too sweet and lacking
in vibrato, Tumes seems to soar over the lush arrangements like
a bird through the airstream in "Healing Waters," "Feel," and "Rest
My Soul." At times, Tumes' melodies are reminiscent of Sting
("Heaven Will Be Near Me," "My Constant One"). At other times, the
music and her voice seem to take on a more Celtic style ("Christ
Of Hope," "Rest My Soul") which brings to mind the likes of Enya.
Despite Tumes' prowess on the piano, this is very much a pop album,
displaying many of the standard pop sensibilities common to a Charlie
Peacock production—including a wide array of vocal effects to enhance
Tumes' wispy dry voice. Make no mistake, Listen is an extremely
fresh album, blending many different musical styles and weaving
melodies, harmonies and orchestration with apparent ease. Only once
does the album take a break to showcase the live recording of Tumes
and her piano on the autobiographical "Life Is Beautiful."
guest artists and highlights on Listen include Charlie Peacock
contributing his distinctive background vocals on "Healing Waters"
and Chris Eaton's dreamy background vocals on "Untame Lion," which
he co-wrote with Tumes and was inspired by the character of Aslan
from C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia.
excellent debut performances aside, it should be mentioned that
Tumes wrote or co-wrote every track on the album. After cutting
her writing teeth writing for others (she co-wrote "If This World"
on Jaci Velasquez's Heavenly Place), Tumes seems to
be at home crafting her set of peaceful passages which should appeal
to fans of Out Of The Grey, Iona, and Sting.
those who don't like to try out new artists because they aren't
sure if they'll be pleased, take this album's title as a bit of