CD Review: Sandra McCraken – Desire Like Dynamite, Releases 2/14

sandra-mccracken-desire-like-dynamiteBy Ellen Eldridge

Like watercolor mixed with wine, Sandra McCracken’s smooth voice resonates like an artist’s paintbrush pulling color through grey on a canvas. “Fire cannot burn the same place twice,” in the first track’s chorus confirms that sensory detail introduces and collates the songs on Desire Like Dynamic. “Go” is one of three sneak preview songs available from the website at Another of the sample tracks, “Dynamite,” artfully matches the watercolor metaphor with its line, “I had a child and her spirit was like wild horses running.”

A Thursday release stands out against the industry standard of releasing new material on Tuesdays so fans can assume McCraken chose the 14th for its association with Valentine’s Day, the holiday that truly separates those who feel in love from those isolated and still looking. But Desire Like Dynamite calls out to those standing on the sidelines as if to offer a third choice. As “Hourglass” suggests, McCracken is “Hurling toward the future with a bullet in [her] chest,” and though she is married to songwriter Derek Webb, identifying with the hope offered by the future can set listeners feeling alone on February 14 at peace. A message to trust in the process plays out from soft melodies keyed on the piano with overlapped lazy, peaceful lyrics.

Let McCracken’s stories pull the color of life through you as the fire red shawl pulls color into the background of the album cover art. Desire truly can implode and destroy one without love, but for those hanging on desire can explode like dynamite, encompassing and enveloping all in its audience. Take Desire Like Dynamite into your audience the Valentine’s Day, and share it with those who need soothing. Answer the question posed on her website for yourself: “Will we choose the noise of our desire or the hope that makes no sound?”

Released on Towhee Records February 14.


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