Ten years ago, when La Bouche broke all the rules of pop radio and brought eurodance music to the mainstream, clubgoers were sweating it out in the heyday of the unapologetic "cover version," and its reigning queen was a beautiful English twentysomething named Abigail. After toiling in the background of techno act Love Decade in the early 90s, Abigail struck gold and a whole new audience-- with hyperactive and cheeky covers of Barry Manilow, k.d. lang, R.E.M., and most notably, "Smells Like Teen Spirit" by Nirvana. She toured extensively and created a "cult" following that were more than ready to embrace her defining anthem "Let The Joy Rise," and she seemed poised to become the next big "dance diva" of the circuit generation. Enter the dark days of the internet file-sharing phenomenon, indie dance labels being the first victims of the problem, and suddenly Abigail was without a label. Retreating to New England, Abigail was ready to reinvent herself and for the first time in a decade, had the complete freedom to do it in her own. Fast forward to 2005, and the long-anticipated release of her crowning achievement. "Home Again."
Long-time fans of Abigail's passionate dance deliveries are in for a great shock. Stripped away are the programmed dance beats of major producers and studios, replaced by intimate rhythms and acoustic warmth that welcomes you like a hearth in the heart of winter. Almost every song on the album was penned by Abigail, and from the opening notes of "You Came," they carry a tone of optimism that stand in the face of any critic who might say this venture is an abandonment of her core audience. Abigail's vocal confidence is as evident as ever, the writing superb, and the rhythms subtle-but-potent enough to prevent even the biggest dance freak from getting bored.
The aforementioned "You Came" exemplifies the album's optimism in a four-minute document of a life changed by another, only to maintain that optimism when the story turns to "she came" halfway through. Reminiscent of the greatest moments of Olive, the subtle drum-and-bass undertones of "Songbird" help this standout take flight. "Let It Go," an AC/pop-friendly piece worthy of comparison to any of the immortal Toni Braxton/Dianne Warren collaborations, exemplifies the strength of Abigail's songwriting skills and attention to commercial detail. Perhaps the most haunting song on the disc, "It's Not Me," slows the tempo to a simple piano line and THAT VOICE as it tells the story of a person isolated but not defeated by the realization that she's not "the one" for her partner. "Better With You" is an unadulterated love song about a life changed by true love, and I have to wonder if it isn't autobiographical, knowing how deeply dedicated and in love with her husband and family she truly is.
Abigail is also dedicated to a number of benevolent causes, most notably Justice For Children International which works towards the abolition of child sex trafficking, and she shares her concern through the beautiful ballad "Shine," telling a story of survival and strength from a child's eyes. The album is crowned with an acoustic rendition of her biggest hit "Let The Joy Rise," which strips the song down to the inspiring and beautiful words penned by longtime friend Janice Robinson. "Joy" has never sounded so lovely as it does here, almost worth the price of the CD itself, and it brings the album to an end with the same feeling of optimism it has going in. Abigail is optimistic, and with good reason this album is AMAZING. Major labels would be smart to pay attention to this release, because right here is your next potential Sarah McLachlan or Dido and she's been here all along. Just ask her thousands of fans around the world ABIGAIL is the real deal, and she is truly "Home... Again."