Usually, when I hear a debut album laden with heavy production
that has a CD cover featuring good-looking young people, I have a
tendency to doubt the musicians’ natural ability. Modern pop music
is replete with beautiful faces, hot bodies and lofty production
that attempt to overshadow deficiencies in the artists’ natural
Upon first listening to Wilshire’s latest album, “New Universe”
appears to be no exception. Its highest achievements are found in
songs with the heaviest production, such as the soulful ballads “In
Your Arms” and “Tonight.” However, as someone who has actually seen
Wilshire perform live with only bare bones accompaniment, I can
vouch for the fact that this duo is the real deal.
As the third album from the group, comprised of husband and wife
team Lori and Micah Wilshire, “New Universe” is a perfect
representation of where the two musicians are in their lives. Yet,
in addition to being autobiographic, their music is actually a
pleasure to listen to.
Wilshire seems perfectly suited to playing college shows, where
audience members fully relate to the passion of their love story
and forgive the lack of extraneous production. Without the intense
emotional connection to their music that is interjected through the
ethereal harmonies of Lori on lead vocal and Micah on back-up, the
songs would border on average.
The album consists of thoughtful low-key songs that run the
typical gamut from beautiful odes of their love for each other to
hopeful messages of encouragement for anyone who is seeking a
release from the mundane.
While the first single, “Special,” speaks of a general
discontent with a monotonous existence, the key ingredient to the
album’s hopeful undercurrent is “Nothing Left to Lose,” from which
the disc’s title is taken.
“I’ve got nothing left to lose/ standing on the edge of my
new universe/ I can’t wait to jump head first in.”
Although the simplistic lyrics are not terribly imaginative,
they are radio-friendly and direct enough to potentially draw in a
much wider audience.
Another highlight is the melancholic “Without You” where Lori
and Micah share the duties of lead singer. Though Lori has a very
powerful voice that at times resembles that of Gwen Stefani or
Christina Aguilera, Micah is just as able to pull his weight on
this track and the one that follows.
That song, as previously mentioned, is one of the best tracks on
the album. “In Your Arms” is made up of unfortunately average
lyrics, however, when being sung by a gorgeous married couple, they
almost become believable.
“I wanna be in your arms tonight/ I wanna tell you
everything’s alright/ I wanna feel you close to me/ we don’t even
have to speak.”
Maybe it has to do with the fact that they are in love in real
life, or maybe they are just wonderful performers, but whatever it
is – it’s working. As a group, there is no doubt that Wilshire has
the talent to become a household name. As a live act, they are
vivacious, on-key and Lori in particular, is simply captivating.
However their studio album could use a bit more polish so it sounds
like more than just a live recording.
If you ever have a chance to catch them live, be sure to take
advantage of the opportunity because you won’t regret the
experience and if you haven’t already, you’ll want to run out and
buy “New Universe” immediately after.
Wilshire is touring with Seal this fall, and will be in concert
on Nov. 22 at The Warfield in San Francisco.