Vienna TengFemale songwriter finds inspiration
in Lilith Fair vets
With her nimble piano arpeggios and
Lilith Fair balladry, Vienna Teng casts a backward glance during
Inland Territorylegacy of Tori Amos, Sarah McLachlan and other mainstays of the
mid-‘90s female-songwriter boom. Teng’s vocals occupy the
spotlight, melding an alto timbre with the careful, articulate
delivery of a poetry grad. Her fourth studio effort gives little
notice to modern trends, however, choosing instead to align itself
with the Clinton-era pop/rock of Amos disciples such as Paula Cole.
Accordingly, Inland Territory feels slightly outdated, as if
its songs are more apt to orchestrate a forgotten episode of Dawson’s
Creek than wind up on Grey’s Anatomy.
Vienna TengThe lack of contemporary attitude does
little to spoil songs like “The Last Snowfall,” with its
cathedral harmonies and sparse beauty, and Teng fortunately makes
room for other styles as the album progresses. “White Lie”
welcomes effects-laden guitars and keyboards into the mix, bolstering
the tracklist with a rare jolt of energy, while “In Another Life”
blends klezmer instruments with Dixieland jazz. When Teng returns to
her comfortable role as emotive balladeer, however, few tracks can
shoulder the weight of her influences, making Inland Territory
a destination merely for dedicated fans and nostalgia-seeking
Listen to Vienna Teng on MySpace.