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CD review: Grace Potter's Midnight 

Hollywood; Release Date: Aug. 14, 2015

Though two of the Nocturnals are still with her — drummer Matt Burr and guitarist Benny Yurco — Midnight is Grace Potter's solo debut, shedding the Grace Potter and the Nocturnals monicker. Longtime fans of that band will have a bit of adjustment here as the name isn't the only change. Potter also breaks free of her rock and soul past in favor of something that skews far closer to pop.

Granted, Potter can sing the phonebook and keep a crowd entertained. There are momentary flourishes on the opening song, "Hot to the Touch," where she gets to belt out a note or two, but for the most part, her singing is more straight-forward. For a singer who has always grown as an artist — who else was there in the early days when Potter was playing at the Visulite Theatre and rarely venturing out from behind her organ? — this album is, in some ways, the next logical step.

Potter's last two albums — 2010's self-titled release and 2012's The Lion the Beast the Beat — touched on pop sensibility with songs like "Paris (Ooh La La)" and "Stars." That same blending of genres in Potter's style continues here with the addition of an ocassional disco rhythm ("Your Girl") and danceable beat ("Delirious").

Fans of Potter's previous work should also be aware of this simple fact — Potter's voice typically take center stage and this isn't Britney Spears, Taylor Swift or Katy Perry that she's turning into. She's still a rock 'n' soul singer that's showcasing another side of her influences more than a pop singer that's trying to find her way into rock or soul. While the backdrop may have changed, Potter's vocals remain intact.

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