- May 2004

Michael Ross
"Maybe it's those rainy days, but the Pacific Northwest has been cultivating a unique brand of intimate, back-porch music. But while bands like Vancouver's Be Good Tanyas lean heavily on elements of blues and twang, Portland's Amelia adds a bit of a torch-song feel. Singer Teisha Helgerson's voice is an affecting instrument that is placed right up front in the mix, revealing all of the dewy, slightly rough edges that surround its essential silkiness and power. She is aided by literate songs with heartbreaking melodies composed by her and other members of the band. Composed is the right word: the songs seem well crafted without ever descending into preciousness. Multi-instrumentalist Jesse Emerson's "All But the Sea" sounds like poetry set to music, a dangerous circumstance in all but the deftest hands. Here it works beautifully, dealing with big themes like life, love, and God, saved from pretentiousness by its sparseness of word, its melodic embellishment, and a vocal approach that pervades this album and gives it a timeless quality. At three minutes and seven seconds, the song lasts not a moment longer than it should and you are sorry when it is over. The same could be said for this CD."