Maria McKee confessed that she wanted to commit commercial and critical suicide with her 1996 release, "Life Is Sweet." Unfortunately, her attempted resurrection on her first release since then doesn't bring her back from the brink. The voice that powered her past efforts is conspicuous in its absence. As both a solo artist and while fronting Lone Justice, McKee displayed a knack for incorporating influences from rock, punk, country, folk, R&B and gospel to produce a distinctive sound with tons of attitude. But half of these songs sound like an attempt for McKee to make it on Broadway, a far cry from the streets of L.A. where she cut her teeth. Even the stronger numbers such as "In Your Constellation" and "Love Doesn't Love" would've been B-sides before. Although she was adept in the past at complementing her material with the likes of Van Morrison and Carole King selections, it was always her own songs that shined through. She handles all the songwriting chores here, but the bright light has been reduced to a dull glow. "High Dive" is being released on her own label and McKee is celebrating the artistic control to do what she wants; too bad she didn't choose well.
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