Serena Ryder
"If Your Memory Serves You Well"

(EMI Canada 2007)Serena Ryder - If Your Memory Serves You Well

"If Your Memory Serves You Well" is Canadian songstress Serena Ryder's second album and follows on from her 2005 major label debut "Unlikely Emergency."

Most noticeable about the album is the fact that all but three of the fourteen songs are covers, some are decent enough lounge/blues/jazz reworkings such as The Band's "This Wheel's On Fire" but the result is not worth getting overly excited about.

It's a similar thing with Ryder's version of Leonard Cohen's "Sisters Of Mercy," hers is a perfectly pleasant rendition however its not a patch on the original. Ryder's voice is smoky often sultry but at the end of the day it doesn't always sound like she can do the lyrics justice, after all they're not her words.

Added to that, it is such a polished album that it almost gleams too much, the over-production doesn't help Ryder to shake of the undesirable easy-listening tag.

Instead of conjuring up images of pâtisseries and boulangeries, her adaptation of Raymond Lévesque's "Quand Les Hommes Vivront d'Amour" does nothing more than evoke thoughts of middle aged women nodding at each whilst drinking Starbucks coffee, it's a nice image -- but only if you're a single middle aged man on the pull.

Solitary hommes aside, Ryder is vocally a very talented woman though she's closer in the musical spectrum to Joss Stone than the desired Janis Joplin and sadly that just about sums up "If Your Memory Serves You Well" - struggling for greatness, Ryder stumbles at the penultimate hurdle. If you're after more singing Canadian sirens then the talents of Jill Barber and Jenn Grant are bigger, brighter and far worthier of note.

C