Wilshire is a husband and wife duo who first came to my attention in 2000, on the self-produced and independently released Second Story — a contemporary pop album so good, I was amazed a major hadn’t already signed them.
Fast forward a little over three years, and after relocating from Nashville to Los Angeles the pair’s hard work deservedly paid off as they cut a deal with Sony. The excellent New Universe, impressively produced by David Tickle, is the result.
Wilshire’s music may be broadly defined as commercial pop-rock, but the key to New Universe lays in its diversity. Outstanding opener and first single “Special” has the modern pop edge of Dido coupled with the upbeat melodic sensibilities of Sheryl Crow, and really lets Lori’s belting vocals shine. “Tonight” is a delicate, beautifully arranged ballad. “Turn It Around” shifts effortlessly between atmospheric acoustic verses and a storming chorus line. “I Know What You Did” is a sassy, groove-laden funky pop-rocker that oozes sensuality.
The chemistry and unique vocal dynamic between Lori and Micah is clearly in evidence throughout the album, especially on “In Your Arms,” a ballad that tells of the deep love between the two, and on the piano-based “Fool For You,” which shares the Wilshire trademark of creating intelligent, unorthodox pop arrangements and marrying them to irresistible melodies.
Some might say that Wilshire was in the right place at the right time to secure a deal. But in reality, luck had nothing to do with it. The immense musical talent of New Universe is the real factor, and it has laid the foundation for one of the most exciting pop duos in recent years to enter an industry bereft of an intelligent alternative to manufactured, airbrushed pop.