Return to Tranzotica
After four solo singer-songwriter albums, Brian Wilson/Beatles-influenced Pamela Davis had a surprise hit when she switched to atmospheric instrumentals for her fifth outing, Welcome to Tranzotica, in 2009. Featuring real world string instruments set to rolling waves of synthesized textures (with Davis playing all of the instruments), it reached number one in a dozen countries, including Nicaragua, Turkey, and Vietnam and topped iTunes’ chart of “Health and Fitness” bestsellers. Five years later, Return to Tranzotica not only picks up where the Newton, Massachusetts-born, and Jupiter, Florida-based, multi-instrumentalist/composer left off, but also expands exponentially on her musical vision. While its predecessor reflected on a tranquil world (emphasized by such pieces as “A Walk in Paradise,” “Romantic Cruise,” and “Scenic Picnic”), Return to Tranzotica is not as bound by Earthly constraints. After opening with a piece that could have fit on the earlier album, Island Retreat, it sonically lifts into the heavens – one can imagine flying through clouds as “Heavenly Skies” and “High in the Clouds” supply the soundtrack. Synthesizers provide an ethereal backdrop, while Davis uses a wide array of stringed instruments, including sitar, charango, Dobro, mandola, tenor and twelve-string mandolin, and eight-string, tenor, concert, and soprano ukulele, to further enhance her hypnotic sound.
— Craig Harris