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Back in April I asked the hotly-tipped for success Roxanne Tataei aka Rox what we should expect from her debut album Memoirs, and she had this to say, "This album has many layers and textures. It's mostly about relationships and the emotional rollercoaster I went through." After hearing a couple of tracks including single My Baby Left Me and reading praises from a wide range of music websites and magazines, the bar was set high.

Memoirs kicks off with No Going Back, a track bursting at the seams with emotion. It's a gorgeous heartwrencher, with each verse building to a lush, moving chorus and the quite-vintage backing adds to its magic. Do As I Say has Rox going to higher octaves, and it has a beautiful, swaying feeling. The momentum of the track reaches its peak around the middle 8 with overwhelming intrumentals that just blew me away. I expected the album to die down a bit, but Page Unfolds proves to be goosebump-inducing, and here we get a real taste of Rox's authority and power in her music. It's an incredibly well-executed track, genuinely poignant.

I Don't Believe is a welcome change in pace which opts for a happier tune, whilst still full of soul and emotive. My Baby Left Me tells a story about a lover leaving but it's such an infectious, 'boppy' song that you would think otherwise. Rox pulls out the acoustics in Forever Always Wishing, a wistful number that ends the first half of the LP on a good note, despite needing a little polishing here and there. A diamond in the rough indeed. Heart Ran Dry tones it down as Rox sticks to acoustics, however an excellent ballad, it does nothing to stand out in the album. Breakfast in Bed suffers from the same factor. Though it's as catchy as some of the tracks in the first half, both the lyrics and the production do little to satiate.

Precious Moments lacks lyrical 'oomph' and I feel like Rox is somehow getting tired and not as 'into it' unlike the other tracks in the LP. I love variety in an album, but Rocksteady just doesn't cut it. Aiming for novelty instead of the usual richness we're familiar with in Rox's music, Rocksteady is a reggae-infused track that steers Memoirs into a wrong turn. Fortunately the album is starting to go back on course with Oh My, another stirring ballad, a classy soul affair where Rox once again pours her heart out. Memoirs closes with Sad Eyes, one of the album standouts. It's a stunning ballad, and the sweeping chorus coupled with brushing piano tinkles are exquisite.

Memoirs is one of those rare records that just get you emotionally invested. Tracks like Page Unfolds and Sad Eyes draw in a certain sadness and aim straight to the heart while ones like My Baby Left Me project a feelgood vibe in spite of a recent heartbreak. Though not entirely cohesive, Memoirs is pieced together by the very distinct and easily recognizable vocal prowess of Rox. The LP is not without flaws. At times Rox's identity is drowned out by the song, and there are moments where she sounds restrained and worn out. Nonetheless, Memoirs manages to balance sassy lyrics and pop hooks with downright soulful crooning accompanied by acoustics, an act not easy to pull. It might not be THE album, but Memoirs certainly proves the massive potential Rox possesses.

Album highlights: No Going Back, Page Unfolds, My Baby Left Me, Sad Eyes



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