Prior to making the jump to solo artist, Sabrina Judge was the singer and one of the founding members of the dynamic and volatile Los Angeles power trio Wheel. The band was named "one of L.A's finest" by the L.A. Weekly--an observation that was clear to anyone who had seen them perform at the Whiskey, Roxy or House of Blues. Judge's striking physical presence onstage is as compelling as her music: "White knuckles clutched around the mike stand, body tensed like a cat about to pounce, with a sudden release like a spring uncoiling." It is that kind of energy that makes such songs as "Big Surprise" and "Come Out and Play" so powerful.
Her evolution as a singer and songwriter is clear. With nearly a decade and half of writing and performing behind her, Judge has focused her innate sense for lyrical movement, rhythm and style on this self-titled CD. Her arrangements are sophisticated and complex, punctuated with the electricity of back-up vocals that are at times haunting, at times almost symphonic, and always effective. These layered vocals combine with ambient guitars and a range of diverse rhythms that go from minimal accompaniment to solid backbeats.
There is a beautiful introspective quality that drives this recording but that transcends the "confessional" mode found in some contemporary records. The introspection is coupled with a soulful energy that is as vital as it is original.
It is no wonder that she produced the collection of songs herself--the commitment with which she performs is evident in every aspect of the recording. Some collaborations with guitarist / engineer / mixer Charlie Campagna show no less vision--like the textual soundscape of "Watchdogs and Angels." But every song showcases the focus and intimacy that have become her hallmark and what make this CD so beautiful.
Judge has a unique approach to songwriting and it is precisely what sets her apart. It is no accident that her emotional compositions have been heard in independent films, "Drowning On Dry Land," "Love Is Like That," and Steven Soderbergh's "The Underneath." More recently, the WB network's "Dawson's Creek" featured one of her songs. Immediately following the broadcast, the "Dawson's Creek" music website was flooded with viewers, requesting information about the song.
From up-tempo tracks such as "Birdy" and "I Remember," to the more ethereal "All I Need" and "Perpetual Motion," Judge draws the listener into stories possessing an inviolable intimacy and at times an almost sacred quality. This, coupled with her refreshing and genuine vitality make this album indispensable.