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Articles Home » Music Reviews » Gardner/James 'Synergy' Album Review By Nina McCarthy
Gardner/James 'Synergy' Album Review By Nina McCarthy

Gardner/James

Synergy

Pavement Entertainment

August 7, 2020

Album Review By Nina McCarthy

Boston Rock Radio

 

 

The definition of synergy is 'when two or more things are working together in order to create something that is bigger or greater than the sum of their individual efforts. The power couple of Janet Gardner and Justin James is the definition of musical synergy, solidifying the reason for the new band name 'Gardner/James'; the solo has officially become a duo. I've seen them perform live and the chemistry between these two is flickering off the charts in all aspects.  

 

In follow up to Janet Gardner's second solo album, Your Place in the Sun co-produced and written by her and her husband, Justin James, they now offer you Synergy, coming worldwide August 7th via Pavement Entertainment. The press release describes the album as "a collection of emotionally charged songs with gritty grooves, infectious hooks, and inspired lyrics that merge hard rock influences from the last four decades." I can't think of any way to say it better than that.

 

Known for being the former powerful lead vocalist of the legendary female rock band Vixen, Gardner pushes herself to the limit vocally on this new album, now that she is free to further explore her creative freedom along with her husband. Combined with her dynamic vocals, the guitar solos by James make me want to play air guitar, which I normally find that ludicrous. The guitar work is that exhilarating! The musicianship is sensational throughout. 

 

The album launches with the featured single, 'Wounded" which entails a rousing guitar solo imprinting in our minds that James can really make that guitar talk, and setting stage for the fusion of 80s and current modern rock that Synergy provides. "Ohhh, ohhh, ohhh!" You'll be singing it too. Picture late 80’s hard rock with catchy choruses and commanding female vocals.

 

"Wounded" Music Video

 

Tracks like "You Can Kiss This" and "Gone" will hit you like a brick wall with the ass kicking beat that makes me want to down a shot of whiskey, put on some shit kickers, and dance. Wait this isn't country music, but these could easily get the nod of Brooks or Chesney!  If you don’t like the mention of ‘country’ don’t let that deter you, because it’s really not. A few of the songs just have the perfect nod to the old southern rock sound that will have your feet moving and your butts shaking! Perfect songs to put on when you're pregaming to get in the mood to hit the clubs. Where am I and what year is it anyway? 

 

After a good ass kicking, Gardner will take you on a slow emotional ride with tracks like "Running to Her," "Say You Will," and "Flying By Faith." These pieces, being sung in a lower register, showcase the full perimeter of her vocal capabilities and lyrical diversity along with songwriter James. As I moved through this album I actually almost forgot that this is Janet singing all these songs. Her impressive range is what has made her one of my top vocalists, and this album corroborates why she is.

 

“Lonely We Fight” was an earlier released teaser that was made into a video showing how we, the friends and fans, are staying safe during this pandemic. I was elated to be included in this video. (I’m hiding behind sunglasses with a pink sugar skull mask in the video...in case I raised your couriosity.) This video demonstrates the appreciation for the fans and gave them a treat during this time of isolation despite the sobering message of the reality we are currently living in.

 

"Lonely We Fight" Music Video 

 

"Talk To Me" has an old 50's rock n roll vibe with a modern touch reminiscent of a Joan Jett attitude vocally. I dare you not to dance and sing along with this one. I can't help picture an old black and white movie with a sock hop going on when I listen. A brilliant fusion of the musical eras to end this album. I only touched on a few highlights, but there's 11 songs on this album and each one could be listened to over and over. Take a drive and sing along!

 

I don't usually rate albums but this one deserves a 10/10. Excellent in all aspects, from songwriting to production and I can’t go without mentioning the fantastic cover art! Recommend for all ages to rock out to. 🤟🤟🤟🤟🤟🤟🤟🤟🤟🤟

 

Official Janet Gardner Music Website

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