Laila Biali is a top award winning singer in Canada and has a technically excellent and pretty strong soulful voice but one that verges into almost Celine Dion-like territory on 'The Monolith' and 'Glass House', two of the early tracks here. Great if you're a Celine Dion fan.
Out of Dust (ACT) falls overall in an uncertain territory that values a wholesome slick professionalism more than most and the band backing her (including Glenn Patscha on organ plus a string of guests including star altoist Remy Le Boeuf on reeds and flute and of course strings on a range of tracks) are not exactly stretched.
Biali's songs, most of the tracks are hers or co-writes involving her pen, are the sort of thing if the label were to get very lucky you'd hear on daytime BBC Radio 2 when the mass market station veers away from the pop charts and yet you might never hear them anywhere else.
A Middle England kind of record. Oh, and covering Gregory Porter's 'Take Me To the Alley' is a bit soon, isn't it? The album from which it was taken came out less than four years ago. I know which version I'd prefer and it isn't Biali's. Would I recommend this when it comes out next month? Er no. It is far too bland. RATING: THREE STARS