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Pipeline Vocal Project

Silver (2023)

4.0

December 31, 2023

Tuning / Blend 4.3
Energy / Intensity 4.0
Innovation / Creativity 4.0
Soloists 4.3
Sound / Production 4.0
Repeat Listenability 3.7
Tracks
1 I Wanna Be Like You [Multi-Lingual] 4.0
2 Truth Hurts 4.3
3 Finesse 4.0
4 Under the Sea 4.0
5 Talk Dirty 4.3
6 I Love Me with Freedom Young 4.7

Recorded 2023
Total time: 16:00, 6 songs


Tuning / Blend 5
Energy / Intensity 5
Innovation / Creativity 5
Soloists 5
Sound / Production 5
Repeat Listenability 5
Tracks
1 I Wanna Be Like You [Multi-Lingual] 5
2 Truth Hurts 5
3 Finesse 5
4 Under the Sea 5
5 Talk Dirty 5
6 I Love Me with Freedom Young 5

Pipeline Vocal Project is the modern-day doo-wop group I didn't know I needed. Three voices. Catchy covers. Contemporary production values (oh hey Alfredo Austin and Ed Boyer). Like Bronze before it, Silver is a lot of fun and shows how much our art form still has to offer.

Truth Hurts feels like a bobby-sox version of Lizzo — not an imitation but a tribute. Like Finesse, it has a sort of En Vogue ensemble feel while managing to take on its own energy and momentum rather than attempting the full punch of the original. Some covers feel like they're trying too hard. These feel like you walked into a good party. Talk Dirty is a bit less my taste than the others, but that's a matter of degree. 

Any group of crowd pleasers can do with some Disney favorites, represented here with a bubbly Under the Sea and I Wanna Be Like You [Multi-Lingual] that cycles the Jungle Book through Spanish and Japanese as well as classic Mowgli and Baloo.

Molly Dieni, Lisa Hawkins, and Adriana Latonio don't need any extra voices to round out their sound, but they also hit a home run collaborating with Straight No Chaser's Freedom Young. I Love Me closes out this six-track recording on an up note. It put a smile on my face for the whole afternoon. With Silver, Pipeline Vocal Project has won itself another medal.


Tuning / Blend 4
Energy / Intensity 4
Innovation / Creativity 4
Soloists 4
Sound / Production 4
Repeat Listenability 4
Tracks
1 I Wanna Be Like You [Multi-Lingual] 4
2 Truth Hurts 4
3 Finesse 4
4 Under the Sea 4
5 Talk Dirty 5
6 I Love Me with Freedom Young 4

There is something so alluring about the concept of Pipeline Vocal Project (PVP) that it is impossible not to want to root for them. While I have nothing against multitrack soloists or large ensembles, Molly Dieni, Adriana Latonio, and Lisa Hawkins remind us that the world is still in need of female trios pumping out imaginative music. Their newest EP Silver, while short on runtime, is chock-full of gusto, passion, and sheer vocal delight. For me, the question that remains is not concerning quality, but whether or not enough vocals are there to leave a lasting impact.

Silver, as a whole, is an enjoyable, family-friendly experience. The only spiciness that listeners have to be concerned with is the amount generated from the group's lead vocals, which can get down and dirty at times and be lovable and wholesome in others.

The album's opener I Wanna Be Like You [Multi-Lingual] has a vibrant energy with its abundance of ambient jungle sounds, vigorous drumming, and stylish singing. Listeners will absolutely be enthralled by the group's talented ability to deliver the lead in three different languages, which feels authentic, adding a unique and much-needed spin to one of Disney's most popular songs.

PVP's take on Under the Sea is jovial and light, with a dash of modern flair. The percussion is highlighted, which works wonderfully given the lack of the original's iconic brass section. There's an established groove that gives the track color and an easy-to-follow flow, while the lead and the harmonies shine on top.

The best moments on Silver come when PVP takes creative risks. The first glimpse comes on a doo-wop stylized cover of Lizzo's Truth Hurts. The animated arrangement is full of life and good times, which is ironic given the lyric's subject matter. What works is how PVP orchestrates and executes such rich and rhythmic vocal parts. The lead carries the song so well, and the bass is full and dynamic.

Talk Dirty is PVP at their best as they portray a more vocally seductive side that at times makes you feel guilty that you are enjoying the experience. The track is more processed than previous ones, but its impact is massive, showing how PVP can sing with the best. The warm, sultry lead is spectacular in creating and maintaining the song's mature vibe, never waning ... especially during the song's bridge which as the kids say is FIRE!

The only true iffy parts about Silver lie in finding the right balance between only presenting three vocal parts at once or layering vocals. Finesse is one example where layering feels appropriate to fill out the arrangement and make things feel more robust, like in the second verse. I believe this decision comes down to what kind of studio group PVP wants to be, but in terms of skill and capability, they definitely have that gear.

Silver offers more than one would expect from a small vocal group, and it is in that unexpectedness that listeners will be impressed and pleased.


Tuning / Blend 4
Energy / Intensity 3
Innovation / Creativity 3
Soloists 4
Sound / Production 3
Repeat Listenability 2
Tracks
1 I Wanna Be Like You [Multi-Lingual] 3
2 Truth Hurts 4
3 Finesse 3
4 Under the Sea 3
5 Talk Dirty 3
6 I Love Me with Freedom Young 5

Echoing strains from the review of its debut album, Bronze, Pipeline Vocal Project delivers a fine representation of its performances in its sophomore release. But the difficulties that come from filling out sound as a trio are still markedly evident and plague Silver.

There is a plenty to be impressed with here: the album opens with a delightful multi-lingual solo rendition of I Wanna Be Like You from The Jungle Book and a personality-laden delivery on Truth Hurts. Delivery of lyrics is extremely clear across the board.

The trouble is that even with such positives and a clear performance aptitude, the relative emptiness of the tracks due to the group's handling of the trio medium is omnipresent. Tracks feel unfinished in ways that likely do not impact the group in live performance simply because of the difference between live and recorded media. More multi-tracking and layering would serve the group in future releases, but arranging could be handled differently as well, as most of the harmonic content is simple triadic voicing in pedestrian ranges. Let's hear some power chords!

That said, the gem of this album is I Love Me with Freedom Young: simply adding another voice gives Pipeline Vocal Project a wider palette to work with and the energy increase is palpable. Not to mention, of course, the deft skill and talent of Freedom Young, a stalwart multifaceted a cappella performer in his own right. The call-and-response voicing in the refrain allows the group to fully shine.

Once again, Pipeline Vocal Project shows excellent ability in its releases and performances. It is my hope that the group chooses strategies that help the singers excel in the recorded medium as well.

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Ordering Information

Silver is available for purchase from the group's website

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