Mera comes from a background both Spanish and Persian, making her the ideal choice as a singer for the Hispanic/Middle Eastern dance music wrought by mix masters Shad Rabbani and Boris Granich (who also did the two Baila Habibi dance compilations). Sandstorm offers the same danceable sounds, with classic Eastern and Latin riffs woven through a contemporary electronic beat. But the album does not seem like a prime showcase for Mera's singing ability. Either she's not using her vocal powers to the optimum or she's been overwhelmed by the production, which uses tricks like overdubbing and vocoder effects that are now more than commonplace in dance pop. While Mera sings in five languages (Spanish, French, Arabic, Farsi, and English), the English-language songs on Sandstorm, including the title song, are lyrically banal and are sung in a bland, acceptable manner. On the other hand, "Pol" (also heard on Baila Habibi Vol. 2), is a richly textured song influenced by many Mediterranean cultures, with the artist contributing a vocal in Farsi; "Hala Hala," sung in English, demonstrates Mera's ability to sing quickly and rhythmically to a rapid drum beat; and "Albee" (Arabic for "My Heart") fuses a more passionate French vocal with some Arabic style. The question raised by this album is whether she would be more at home singing in traditional (and less commercial) ethnic styles or trying to be a Middle Eastern Madonna or Christina Aguilera clone.
|Label:||Time Zone Records|