Monica Pasqual – Is Fortune a Wheel
Indie Award winning recording artist Monica Pasqual presents a deeply personal album with “Is Fortune a Wheel” – a vivid, daring journey into what happens when unforgettable memories are lost by a lover whose ability to recall the past is fading. These memories, still cherished by Pasqual, are explored through song as she navigates the art of letting go. The album is a modern-day odyssey through love, pain, loss and the ultimate rediscovery of self.
This CD is a cup of tea that you either drink or you don’t, but that depends on if you appreciate chamber-folk or not. It’s not that serious but she is also not playing at half-effort in the process. Monica Pasqual has been around the block and then some, and it comes out in the music and lyrics on these tracks, all of them which have substance to offer within a style that is easy enough to follow. But it can be a little on the musically complicated side for some as well. For those not knowing her, I suggest picking up another title or two of hers along with it. Leading off with the title cut, “Is Fortune A Wheel,” in grand fashion, she wastes no time in establishing the mood she’s conveying. It’s one of the best numbers but there honestly isn’t a bad tune to be described either. But it seems to belong leading the CD off and drawing you in from there, which is a creative ploy not all artists are up to. This continues with the very solid “Swann’s Way” which takes you down a path that you don’t want to leave, even after it is over. And the same can be said for the over the top track of the album, “Golden Cuff” which hearing is the only way to depict the coolness of. This is one of my favorite picks among them all, as it embodies all to be heard from her, and proceeds to rival her best work. But it’s all par for the course on this well-crafted album. If that is not enough already, she takes you the distance with her band The Handsome Brunettes, on what the opposites of “Wild” and “1969” have to offer. Both are completely different yet they somehow interact well enough to go together without losing the flow. And this isn’t done without some effort, but the task of arranging these tracks and how well that was done comes to mind before the next number kicks in. “Down By The Mill” again shows Monica Pasqual in her best light with another enormously satisfying song. This comes in and you feel there just isn’t going to be any filler on this CD. It’s yet another in what are all fine tunes, but sits up in the top four for me. On “Strings On My Human Heart” things take a left turn and continue to ride in that direction with some more and some less busy tracks to enjoy as it winds down. This is another layered track with the lyrics giving the vocals all they need to round out the thing of beauty that it is. But it does set a turning point that has less consistency than the first six songs which tend to stick around in the same groove. This gets underway on “UmaUma,” a track which she collaborated on with BZ Lewis. This has some scratchy noise effect used pretty generously these days, but it’s in the right places and helps add the old school sound to it. This is another killer tune but one of the more sandwiched between others as well. And you notice at this point it’s a serious collection of songs, laced with a feather-light sound no matter what pace it’s going through. But it doesn’t come without the longest cut to describe in “Steam” which takes the proverbial cake along with the first six, already pointed out. I’m not calling it the best overall track, but far from the worst, let’s put it that way.
One thing you come away knowing if you don’t already is that, she is a minstrel of high order. Especially if this is your sort of thing and you listen to a lot of modern old themed music and subsequently follow her. I just can’t see how anyone would be disappointed. And the last two tracks “Saint In The Yard” and “The Color Blue Is Everywhere” do nothing to dispute that this is a major fine offering from her.