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Bering Strait

Pages – 2005 (Universal South)

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

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CDs by Bering Strait

Good thing Bering Strait didn't encounter as much difficulty putting out their sophomore disc as they did their debut where they went through about five labels before their debut saw the light of day. Bering Strait, which also had a documentary released about them, made for a great story, but that was superior to their music.

The Russian country band finds itself on firmer musical footing 2 1/2 years later. They could best be described as a countrified version of Fleetwood Mac. This is not hard-core country, but neither is the poppier sound of their debut.

The Fleetwood Mac connection is most fitting considering that they turn in a stellar cover of "You Make Lovin' Fun" where strong lead singer Natasha Borzilova turns in a fine reading without mimicking Christine McVie. Borzilova owns really strong vocal chops throughout, but she shares the singing here with Lydia Salnikova, who starts the 11-song disc with the lovely "Safe In My Lover's Arms." They stretch things out displaying musical abilites by including two instrumentals as well, Jerry Douglas' "From Ankara to Izmir" and their own "What's For Dinner?"

Bering Strait also has moved their career along by penning about half the songs and using Carl Jackson to produce. He employs a far more acoustic sound than on the debut produced by Brent Maher. That is, in part, due to the departure of Ilya Tolchinsky from the group, though he guests on guitar. The in-between album wait may not have been quick for Bering Strait, but the time was well spent.