"Beautiful Day" by Liana Conway
“Sunrise,” Liana Conway (Stonehall)
Liana Conway’s “Sunrise” is the music equivalent of a popcorn movie: fun, but insubstantial.
The Boston-born/Nashville-based Conway is the anti-Lana Del Rey. She’s unpretentious and simple — perhaps too simple for a 21-year-old.
She brings to mind upbeat, fresh pop singers such as Natasha Bedingfield and Colbie Caillat, though “Sunrise” pitches a couple of fine curve balls with the Norah Jones-y downcast cocktail-lounge song “I Could Have Loved You” and the peppy Taylor Swift-esque kiss-off “Callin’ You Baby.”
Elsewhere, Conway and producer/co-writer Phoenix Stone go for a timeless, folk-laced pop sound that was especially popular in the 1970s, unassuming and unabashedly saccharine.
The singer eases in with the breezy bliss of “Day Dreamin’” and subsequently segues into the whistling-backed “Beautiful Day,” singing such lines as, “There’s something about the way you’re looking at me/It’s breaking my train of thought and making it hard to breathe.”
Sounds like a medical condition.
Conway’s unflappable sweetness is more endearing than cloying (though it sometimes can be more of the latter). On the R&B/Latin-flecked “You Baby,” she likes her love interest “rough around the edges” and finds it gratifying that, “When I call, you’re always there.” And though there’s a persevering innocence to “Sunrise,” Conway attempts a little seductive growl in her voice on “No Turning Back,” where she declares, “You might be the one.”
However, despite the effervescent melodies, Conway is lightweight in the vocal department, sounding addled on “Walk in the Sun,” for instance, and getting lost in the languid arrangement of “Cece’s Song.” Also, her lyrics can be too juvenile/pedestrian to be those of an adult woman.
Fortunately, “Sunrise’s” shining spirit casts those flaws in the shadows.
Rating (five possible): 3