Passionflower - Single (2016)
Review By Catherine Lewis
September 2, 2016
This single is available for download from these vendors:
Passionflower is RARB's introduction to Limited Edition, a coed group from Port Washington High School in Wisconsin. But this isn't exactly an unknown group: Limited Edition came in second overall in the ICHSA finals in April, and Dallas Erickson won the Outstanding Soloist award for this song (he also sings lead on this recording).
From the start, Limited Edition doesn't disappoint: there's a smoldering, haunting introduction that builds intrigue for over a minute before the lead comes in, with a captivating ebb and flow plus pauses that let the music breathe and build. The lead is outstanding, with his voice floating over the group, and what starts off sounding monochromatic builds into an epic climax with a dramatically-held note. The group's interpretation is all the more impressive once you realize that the song is written by Jon Gomm, a one-man band whose original version is remarkable, but Limited Edition's version adds a depth and softness that's quite different from Gomm's single acoustic guitar (and tapping percussion). The song is arranged by Marty Gray of the Michigan G-Men, and he has perfectly-tailored the score to Limited Edition's roster and strengths. (Note: the group provided the soloist/arranging credits to RARB directly, but I hope they'll also update their Loudr page with credit information).
My only unfortunate issue with the recording of Passionflower is how abruptly it ends. Listeners have been spoiled with the graceful build of the long intro and the beautiful crescendo of the song, but once the lead has said his last word, there's a quick vocal flourish and then the song is over. It's a jarring end to this shimmering story, the auditory equivalent of slamming a book shut the moment you've read the last word, instead of finding a way for the backs to taper in an outro that harks back to the song's beginning. It doesn't take away from the beauty of the rest of the song, but the ending's harshness does affect this listener's desire to give it multiple spins.