Total time: 44:10, 16 songs
Tracks 7, 9, 11, 12, 15 recorded May 1995
Tracks 1, 4, 5, 13, 14 recorded Dec 1995
Tracks 2, 3, 8, 10 recorded May 1996
I raved about the last two CDs from Artists in Resonance, but their newest effort left me kind of cold. They cut down on the number of tracks and somehow increased the number of substandard songs. More importantly, there isn't much on the CD to really take your breath away. Their version of "Jimmy Olsen's Blues" is dependable and their cover of Kate Bush's "The Man With The Child In His Eyes" is well conceived and well performed.
There's too much novelty material that doesn't warrant a second
listen: a rip off of "The Theme From Flood", an
irritating "Fish Heads", the unfunny original tune
"Andy's Song", and an inexplicably grating
secret hidden bonus track. The notable exception is
a very funny (and extremely collegiate)
analysis/deconstruction of Peter Gabriel's
"Kiss that Frog".
Rating: 6 (5.9)
there's something about artists in resonance that's truly genuine, and
there're other things that are truly derivative and typical of a coed
collegiate group. they're at their best doing real alternative stuff like
dada, and barnes & barnes, but at their worst they succumb to the
underworld of pop (spin doctors, gloria gaynor). the stuff in between
is in between (peter gabriel, k.d. lang, police, annie lennox).
conceptually it does all flow together quite well, and the sound of
the group is certainly consistent; half of the arrangements being done
by derick peterson helps maintain this consistency, for sure, and he's
certainly got a nice sound to his stuff for the most part. air seems
undecided about vocal percussion: sometimes it would appear halfway
through a song, sometimes only in verses, sometimes only at the start;
this confused and frustrated me, especially when i was waiting for the
groove to really lock in, something which happens rarely on this
album. songs like fish heads and the
adam ant cover at the end are where the group shines
in my opinion, and i hope they continue to have a couple gems like
this on future discs. overall quite a solid album, with competent
soloists and arrangements, but with some required typical college
Rating: 5 (5.1)
This is very disappointing based on some of their past work. Either
they just didn't have the talent they had on the past couple of albums
(doubtful, based on the fact that what they had was very well tuned),
or they tried to get alternative on all levels of their music,
including the arrangements of the song. Some very good tracks are
teased here, but never realized to their full potential. The upper
voices seem over-balanced throughout the album, and they're almost
afraid to rock out on rock songs and to groove on some of the groove
songs. They have the vocal power, they have capable percussionists,
and they have a good idea of what they want to do...they didn't push
themselves. There are several groups that focus on alternative music
(U Penn's Off the Beat springs quickly to mind) that have all that.
These guys can too, but they seemed to be happy with what they had.
That's a shame, 'cause they could be so much more. My rating is based
on a well-musically-sung album that I feel could use more passion and
Rating: 6 (5.4)
Inside the album cover it says that this group is "alternative" a
cappella, which I've never heard of. I wanted to make sure I just wasn't
completely clueless, so I checked out their web page. They simply do a lot
of more comical music. The only problem is that most of the time on this
album, with very few exceptions, they're just not funny. Some of the
tracks (such as #1 and #6) were
totally not needed and one wouldn't want to listen to more than once.
They may be OK for a concert, but a CD is something that people want
to listen to again. This album has some good soloists, but very
little dynamics, and the song selection isn't strong. Maybe they're
funnier in performance. I hope so, because after listening to their
songs, I think many of their jokes are more "inside" jokes that mostly
they think is funny. There are some great tracks on this album, but
not enough. The one thing that bothered me the most is that there are
three different "groups" of this a cappella group on the album.
There's May 1995, December 1995, and May 1996, which have as many as 7
different people from one time to the next. Therefore, it's tough to
say what I think about the sound of this group as a whole, because
it's in so many parts!
Rating: 5 (5.6)
If you end up with a copy of this recording, do not listen to the first 6 tracks. You will be happier and come away with much nicer things to say about this group. Artists in Resonance is not a great group, but they are an okay group except for the first 6 tracks, on which they are a bad group. Painful. I don't want to talk about it.
The rest of the album is actually a decent listen, and if you are someone who appreciates performance art it might really be worth checking out. It's the sort of art that isn't polished or appealing in a lot of cases, but has a certain power to it that transcends what's going on. These guys are experimenting, not musically but theatrically, and that's cool. The preamble to "Kiss That Frog" does nice things with an old gimmick, the arrangements are sprinkled with bits of found art and the original "Andy's Song" is a contemporary gem. The music on this disc is almost a prop, not the focus. It's not very complicated, tuning ranges from okay to horrible and they have a '70s fetish.
Now, you might think this is not the best thing for an a cappella group,
which is foremost a bunch of singers. But I think you have to appreciate
things for what they are, and if you judge this disc on music alone,
you'd be missing a lot of things which deserve better than that.
Rating: 5 (5.7)
I know 99.9% of college a cappella is cover tunes, but when you cover
a quirky little bit like this intro from Flood by
this is the opening track from they might be giants' third album, flood,
basically an overture. kind of a cool idea to stick this on there, but i'm
neither here nor there on the subject. could've done without it, didn't
mind it, performed pretty well, no problems there, arrangement is nice &
simple, short & sweet.
Short snippet with reworked lyrics to fit the group singing it. Kinda cute,
and I think the tuning was there, but you really couldn't tell with the soprano
being as over-balanced to the rest of the group as she was. Nothing special,
but at least it was a song, as opposed to a lot of "opening tracks" on
I can just picture them doing a cheesy little dance on the stage for
this song. It's a cute idea to introduce their CD, but I think it's
totally redundant. Nice harmony, but it sounds nothing like the rest of the
album. The lyrics say "It's a brand new album for '96, Artists in
Resonance." We know that already. Also, since it's a 27-second song, it's
a weak opener, and after listening to it once to introduce the CD, there's
no reason to listen to it again.
I realize that a certain amount of earnestness is in order for this song.
The tenors and altos just don't seem right in tune and the whole thing
fails to synchronize. So okay thought, poor execution.
The backing vocals are all well sung, but the lead is a little
off-putting. Her lower register voice is a top notch alto, but when
the arrangement calls on her to hit the high stuff, it sounds like a
tenor's falsetto. She does all right on the brief rapped section: a
little stilted, but still forceful.
i was struggling to hear the soloist throughout the choruses of this tune.
i did like this arrangement, with its little "money money" things, that was
kinda cool, it's got the groove. but i couldn't help feeling like this was
contemporary a cappella that needed drums groovin throughout. as it is
they come in for the little rap section (which is really strange, the solo
does some uncomfortable things here), and turn into hihats for the
remainder, which is fine, but they could've been there the whole time and
the arrangement would've floated along nicely atop the bed of percussion.
performance is nice and mellow when it needs to be and intense as we get to
the end after the rap break, good pitch, good rhythm, solid. but the
soloist had a kind of broadway attitude compared to ms. lennox's original,
that is, when you could hear her, and her performance was not rock solid in
general. i did feel that she'd've been more appreciated live than
reflected by the way she was captured on this album.
Thank god, an Annie Lennox song that's not "Walking
on Broken Glass" or "No More I Love You's". Good solid harmonics,
with an interesting background. Soloist sounds closer to Sade than
Annie Lennox, but that's not a bad thing. It gets a little
shout-heavy at the end, but overall, really funky...and somewhat
enjoyable...too bad the rest of the album doesn't measure up to this...
This song sounds really metallic, but I'm not sure if that's due to the
recording or the singing. Their diction isn't clear enough, and the use of
so many syllables makes it sound messy. The soloist slurs her words so
badly that it sounds like she was given a shot of novocaine before singing.
(sorry- but that's the best way to describe it) The rap in the middle, even
if it's in the original song, is out of place because the color of the song
totally changes. The song does have a good groove to it which is addicting
to the listener.
Soloist is at her best when she goes into chest voice for the low chorus.
The rest of the time, she clearly has vocal power and a smooth tone, but
she has this frog thing that gets in the way of ever enjoying her tone.
Chest voice has depth without sounding swallowed — I don't know if it's
misapplied classical training or just an odd freak of nature, but I've
never heard a voice so free and easy yet hard to listen to. Strains at
the highest notes, but that's an after effect. Like her or not, she
dominates a straight and unremarkable background. They're very, uh,
contemporary jazz, or whatever the preferred euphemism is these days.
Percussion comes in only once, and it's very fizzy, for lack of a better
word. The "rich white bitch" rap line is pretty funny, but it brings to
mind Kathy Bates, not glamour. I picture this woman dressed like Divine
with campy sunglasses, brandishing a poodle on a string to make her point.
It starts off with the right amount of drive in the backing vocals,
but if you don't wail like a madman on the lead vocals, they sound
damn silly. "All her suicides are faked." "Something crawls up from
the slime." Say that out loud. See what I mean. I don't think a lead
needs to impersonate the original artist to be good, but in this case
you have to scream like Sting to make the lyrics not sound goofy. The
lead vocalist is just too polite, too controlled, and too practiced.
bad pitch at the very start, but settles in quickly. this female soloist
is bored, and i have a feeling this has much to do with the differences in
ranges between any woman and sting. sting can sing in a woman's range, but
sounds much more intense up there. again, i tend to like the arrangement,
relatively simple and imitative. however, all i could hear were the
sopranos mixed way higher than the rest of the group throughout. ending
chords are poor, percussion is not extremely powerful but does help out.
No verve. The notes are there, and it's really pretty...but I don't remember
this song ever being pretty. The original was a gale force, and they didn't do enough with the arrangement for the song to warrant not being the same gale
force. Soloist diphthongs often drive her sharp or flat. No payoff at the
end. In a word...bland.
Great song to do a cappella, because it's executed well. The percussion
of "bshzzz" sounds sharp and keeps the piece moving along well. I would
have liked to hear the soloist a little more, yet again, this probably could
have been fixed in the recording session. Some of the transitions are rough
on the edges, and it takes a while to settle into the new sections.
Overall, the arrangement keeps the listener very interested, and that in
itself makes a good song.
Intro to this song has the background kinda trying to get energized, but
they are thwarted by an impossibly white and wimpy "oh, oh, oh." That
part screams for energy, raw sound, and there ain't none of that nowhere.
Percussion sounds like a fly-wheel gone amok — I don't get the bzzzh
sound at all. Arrangement sounds sort of empty, peppy like those moving
Christmas displays in the mall. Tenors are tuning impaired, which is
particularly noticeable because their part is so basic. Only one
departure from the doo-dit continuum. "doo ba daben ditch" — crevass
maybe. Between them and their audience, or maybe their tuning or ... I
really should stop now.
It's off to a great start. Lovely music, fine singing all around, an
interesting lead vocalist. That's on the verses. When they hit the
first chorus, the sweat harmonies are replaced by a nasal guitar riff
sung in harmony by most of the group. Very jarring. (Note to AIR:
Since you seem to like Dada, have you considered covering
"Disneyland"? It seems like your cup of tea.)
wavery men and an uneven mix at the beginning don't promise much, but when
jared young's solo arrives we forget about that. after the tag line, "to
deal with all the scum," THE ENTIRE GROUP SINGS "NNNNEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEER,"
and i must say, it's one of the least attractive sounds a group of 11
people can make. then the second verse comes around and we're back into
nice land. AAAGGGGH! NEEEERR!! there's a certain broadway feeling to
this song, intensified by the basses' syllables (often they sing lyrics).
also, the basses are muffled in the recording. i commend air for doing a
truly alternative song (by dada), but there're too many pitchy moments and
obnoxious syllables to make me really love it. p.s. here's a tune that
really didn't need vocal percussion, works quite well without it....
Very serene and kinda pretty, but again, bland. I didn't have any major
objections to the song, but it didn't get me excited either. And it also
had, IMHO, too choral of an ending for the kind of song it was.
I was initially very disappointed with this song, because I have no idea
how they put this on the CD with the very first chord being noticeably out
of tune. The "doo doo doo" that people sing during the verse also needs an
intonation check. They do a good job changing the style of the song with
picking new syllables, but the "neeeew" break during each verse sounds
irritating after one hears it the first time. The dynamics are too much one
extreme or another. Either too loud or too soft, but the ending takes care
of this as voices are added every few measures. But, the ending is just
like the beginning: out of tune.
Solo is a refreshing change. He's pleasant, he has energy and I get a
sense of voice from him that seems to be missing in the group ambiance.
He's a tenor-type, too — wonder where they've been hiding him. The
background is okay. They go abrasive for the "nearrr, nearrr" bit; well
it works. Too well — even though the rest of the song is pretty okay,
that section repeats twice and runs it out of my listenability range.
Having the background sing "The Scum" on a pair of held notes was a poor
arranging choice too. When the background stays light pretty, it actually
gets downright pleasant — a few pitch problems, but the soprano (maybe
the woman from track two?) sounds nice and the solo is good. Even some of
the funky chords come off. If it weren't for the chorus arranging this
could have been a really nice song.
A clever little Spin Doctor's song that has everything that I loved
from the prior albums by the Artists: strong harmony, fun music, solid
leads. A quote from Two Princes (the "Just go ahead now!" part)
keeps the track moving along.
this was another of the spin doctors' attempts to destroy pop music as we
know it, you know, "i got a pocket full of kryptonite." soloist is
terribly bland, arrangement is jagged, recording leaves random studio noise
naked at the beginning. there's a couple attempts at bringing two princes,
another of spin doctors' pop disasters, into this arrangement, and the
first one actually gets kinda funky with the women's shouts, but the
soloist seems to ruin 'em for me by timidly trying to recreate the
freaky-dude-with-the-beard's unusual vocal antics. vocal percussion
would've smoothed over some of the jaggedness of the arrangement.
Weak arrangement....the entire point behind the early Spin Doctor's song is
percussion driven groove and energy, neither of which this song has. And
the kicker is that what they DO do is very well in tune and very musically
sound, but it doesn't fit sound. Nice addition of "Two Princes" in the middle
of the song, but it's not enough to save the song.
The "doo-bop-do-ba-do-ba-da" during the verse moves the music well, but
it tends to sit on each note. The group doesn't seem to get into this song
very well. It sounds like they're just singing some notes, and the soloist
is trying to pull them along, because he knows what he's doing. What saves
this song is the creativity between verses: the variation in the end that
takes part from the Spin Doctor's song "Two Princes" and the part taken from
the theme from Superman.
This sounds like it's being played at least 10 rpm too slow. Solo here is a little schmaltzy, but makes it through, never quite going too flat. Background is pretty basic and the song has the same enthusiasm level as an 8 a.m. freshman english class. There's this weird, over "doo"ed treble bridge between verses that is musically there but *where* does it come from? Sound effects on verse two are weird too, like a big "ooowwwweeeee" after the word making love. The only spark comes in a weird place — the disco break down, with the women going "ha" over campy chords behind a solo vamp from "Little Miss Can't Be Wrong" is kind of neat, flywheel guy notwithstanding. The key change at end hurts. Scat is no help.
You know, now that I think about it, the background feels like
they lifted it not from the original Spin Doctor's song, but from the
30 seconds that made it into Chris Tess' Supermedley from an old
Pikers skitsong. This would explain its cursory nature — it was
never intended to carry a whole song. AIR's version lasts less than
three minutes, but it feels much longer.
A novelty introduction to track 7. If it had been tacked onto the
same track as "Kiss that Frog," it would have sucked — you would have
to hear the comedy bit EVERY TIME you wanted to hear the serious song.
But as it stands this is a great bit of very COLLEGIATE comedy. Joel
Slotkin deconstructs the '"poem" Kiss that Frog with the precision of
a veteran English professor. My favorite line: "Of course, in it's
original context, the poem itself would have been sung."
some dude talkin. lotsa lip noise and some reverb. neato.
Brief discussion of the deeper meaning of "Kiss That Frog" Very informative,
but no redeeming musical value whatsoever.
Here the soloist of the upcoming song "Kiss That Frog" talks about the
"literary qualities" of the song lyrics. He uses a bunch of words we all
studied for the SATs to describe it. I think the group thought this
would've been funny on the CD. Once again: totally unnecessary and no one
would ever listen to it again. I hope they don't do this in concert,
because they would get a lot of blank stares. The worst part is that this
talking goes on for a minute and a half.
No singing in this one, I like it already. The narrator has a pleasant
bass voice, like Carl Haas (the classical music radio guy) might have
sounded in high school. And he mentions Pindar. I'm there. (By the way,
this is not sarcastic. I actually thought this was really funny. But
then I was a classics major.)
A kinda goofy version of this kick ass Peter Gabriel song, but still
pretty good. The goofy quality comes from the woman singing little
side lyrics after the lead vocals: The Lead: He's gonna be just like
your best friend The Woman: (You're gonna get it in the end, you're
gonna want it in the end). It doesn't quite work. But the track really
picks up when they get to the "Jump in the water/Come on baby get we
with me" section and the lead vocalist stops trying to be the
quintessential bass and just cuts lose. It even starts to kick ass
again. . .
they give a bass the solo on this one (sings it an octave lower than peter
gabriel). there's some woman doing these wailing answers to the soloist
throughout the tune, and it's terribly annoying (she puts on a forced
grunting sound towards the ends of her phrases) and unnecessary. bad pitch
occasionally. not having percussion doesn't help. one thing that's kinda
weird is when the basses start pumping towards the "jump in the water part"
at the end of the tune, it conflicts directly with the solo for several
bars until he jumps up the octave (finally). the arrangement is actually
nice and bouncy, and reflects the natural bounciness of the original in
This is more like it....good moving background....nice bass lead...I
still think a little tasteful percussion could have added much to the
song...... but I had fun listening to this. My only major complaint
is that they could have done more with the slow sections...the
transition between the rhythmic 2sections and the "ooh" sections feels
too jarring. Overall, though, one of the 2-3 best songs on the album,
despite the cheesy ending.
When this song starts out, the chord is rather quiet and grows, but
instead of growing out, the chord is pressed and flat. They, actually, do
this during the whole song, and it sounds like they are forcing themselves
to be louder. the basses syllables do a great job of sounding like a frog.
The soloist has a great, deep quality to his voice for this song, but the
rest of the group (other than the basses) singing on "bum-ba-ba" doesn't
match this. It sounds too jumpy (no pun intended about a frog). During the
bridge when a soprano sings a "descant" line over the melody, it draws too
much attention away from the soloist, and it's basically boring. In the end
of the song when another member of the group repeats "Jump in the water"
it's the first time I really heard "soul" in this piece. This wasn't
polished enough for the CD.
Now we get to hear the bassguy sing, and he's got a 'tude. I like his
style. He practically forces the group to groove; as the song progresses
they get more into it, and the rhythm gels a bit. Laid-back solo an
octave down is just fine by me; it's not gonna sound like Peter Gabriel
anyway so I'm glad they made it their own. Even the eerie low section
resonates just fine with me, and the sopranos squeak through their trip
to the stratosphere at the end (pun not really intended). Frog lady (from
track two) brings a certain unplanned (I assume) irony to the song with
her background accents. In general, the pluses on this one outweighed its
minuses, and we've been overdue for a listenable track.
This is the first song on the album where I've liked the women on
lead. The solo is actually almost always followed by some other women
in tight harmony for the swelling melody lines of this K.D. Lang song.
bad pitch at the beginning. ooh, women! sex me. really nice. nice
unison lines are performed well by the women of air, but again the soloist
is mixed a little too low. the arrangement again is nice and bouncy, moves
quite well without percussion in this case during the verses, and it comes
in for choice moments that work well. i like the groove goin' here. the
mix is good overall, and allows us to hear certain parts sneaking in here
and there for interest. OH YEAH! sexy, smooth, score.
This wasn't bad either. Very jazzy, and it cooks
nicely...nice harmony. It annoys me personally that they only seem to
use vocal percussion for 30 seconds of any given song, then they let
it go....why not use it through a song if you're going to use it at
all? Otherwise, don't use it. There are times cutting to and from VP
is effective, but it's not effective in the places that they do
it...it's almost as if they forgot to drum in places.
Again, the first chord is out of tune and I can't believe no one in the
group caught that before sending it to the CD! The soloist (or the one
singing the top of the duet during most of the song) has a great voice, and
she definitely worked hard on this song to make it sound sharp. I don't
think there was anything that really stood about this song, but I really
liked listening to it. It has a nice, funky groove to it, even though the
background is pretty repetitive. Sometimes repetition can be a good thing,
if it's consistent like this song.
This is definitely a '70s-inspired group. At first this song sounds like
another blah, empty arrangement, but then I realized that they were
trippin', in the style of Steely Dan imitators, or maybe Weather Report. I
picture a vinyl record jacket dominated blue, gold and crimson, with
liberal applications of paisleys and other prints. The liner notes say
this was originally a k.d. lang song, but I don't believe them. Female
solo does pretty well, except with the oohs, which don't stylize quite
right. This would have made great soundtrack music for a "time passing"
scene (waiting room, cab ride) in a movie like "Airplane" or your pick of
This is the second song on the album where I've liked the women on
lead. (I guess the Artists are back on track . . . ) A steady bass
and high energy keep this TOTALLY OVERDONE song interesting. They
throw in a clever (but pointless) mock Russian choir section. It's
well arranged and very well sung, but what the hell is it doing there?
The first time it's funny, but after that, it just distracts from the
song (which, although IT'S OVERDONE, has some actually emotion behind
a pretty soloist over a pitchy backup at the beginning. the percussion is
playing the wrong beat it seems to me, does little to avoid the jaggedness
of the arrangement; in fact, it merely intensifies it. another thing i
never understand is when percussion is rocking along and then it's taken
out totally for no reason. this makes no sense. interesting russian waltz
section for the repeat of the chorus is really, well, um, interesting. at
least it's not the same old same old. i appreciated the fact that the
melodic hook was passed around amongst a couple different people (or maybe
it was just panned in different places). soloist was fine, but again,
seemed to force out some grunty things for no particular reason.
Good, solid arrangement of what is one of the more over-arranged songs of 1996.
VERY nice trio work...it doesn't seem as if the background can keep up
with the soloists..and again, WHERE'S THE PERCUSSION!??!?!?!!?!? The one
thing that saves this song is that HILARIOUS "Cabaret" takeoff in the middle.
But when the percussion is there, this song is fantastic...without it, it's
I had high expectations for this song before I heard it, because so many
a cappella groups choose it for their repertoire. The soloist is way too
operatic during the slow introduction to this song. Yes, they are free to
interpret it however they want, but she sings the rest of the song
differently. This is a strong arrangement; they blended the 70's version
that Gloria Gaynor did, but the syllables and percussion also give it the
90's "dance feel" that brought it back this decade. I'm glad that they
didn't use the same arrangement that many groups seem to use on this song.
The little "German" waltz version of the chorus at the end is funny and
totally unexpected, but I could see that some listeners might think otherwise.
And now we are into the '70s for real. And some very nice, churchy oohs
are topped with a very white, earnest intro. To paraphrase Gabe Rutman:
uh, whatever. But hey, the solo actually gets pretty good for a white
girl on the rest of the song. By herself and with the harmony line, she
does pretty damn good, and is a welcome change from the usual
interpretation of this song. For which I was deathly afraid she was
heading at the beginning; good thing the group's true nature kicked in
for the main song. The "Boris and Natasha" chorus was probably pretty
funny in person, and I gotta admit the waltz thing had me giggling. It's
odd, but hey. And tuning on this was nice — they felt very in control,
and that made their multiple-personalitied arrangement much easier to
The artists reach back to Kate Bush's first album for this song, and
they unearthed a great song for a cappella treatment. The only
problems are that the lead is occasionally not prominent enough in the
mix and that the syllable choice (la la la) on the backing vocals
(directly after the title lyric) is a little distracting. Everything
else is on target.
again, soloist is overpowered by the background in many spots. the backups
perform a very nice arrangement quite well. whoa! i actually heard a
punch-in on the bass part (careless mixing...), which was quite
distracting. i did not feel the emotion of the soloist at any point, nor
did the song overall have any real emotional power or intensity. just some
nice chords and mendelssohn's hebrides-esque women's parts.
Pretty, but I've heard better arrangements, better soloists, and better overall
execution. Still, it's OK....
Recording problems: the soloist was singing too close to the mic, because
her tone quality sounds fuzzy. I'm positive it's not her fault, but the way
it was recorded. However, someone should have caught that, because it does
some damage' to the song. I was waiting for a melodic ballad on this CD,
because I think it was needed. This is a simple arrangement with some
beautiful chords. They could have done more with dynamics (like let the
soloist lead!) , and the tempo runs away a little bit towards the last 40
seconds or so.
I think the solo would do better to sing it straight
and concentrate on a pure, pretty tone instead of trying to stylize.
I think she's got the right idea, but she's trying a little too hard
to be Kate. The more of a Kate Bush fan you are, I think the tougher
time you will have with this version. I'm not too familiar with her
myself, so for me this was a nice, effective mood change with some
nice moments from the basses and generally good tuning for a
challenging, slow arrangement. I get the feeling they worked a lot on
this one, and it shows. Solid and sweet.
An original novelty song written by Andy and sung by Andy. Who's Andy
and, in his own words, "How does a grubby guy like me score such
success with ladies?" His secret is his home made spaghetti sauce,
which sends the women of the group into orgasmic bliss every time. Is
it funny in performance? Probably. Will you listen to the CD version
twice? Probably not.
andy has an unusual voice with some sort of frightening sibilance thing
happening. the subject of the song (cooking and attracting women basically
having success with the ladies) does little to ease my unease. it's a
freaky little sex-jazz-doowop song complete with orgasms by air's women.
it makes me feel funny. but it's original!
Original pseudo-jazz number written by two members of the groups about the
title subject's culinary skills...with not-so thinly veiled sexual references.
It's a cute, sweet novelty number, well sung, and sounds like they had a lot
of fun doing it. Unfortunately, the rest of the album overall doesn't have the
oomph to make a simple novelty number like this work.
It's tough to make comments about a song someone in the group wrote,
because it's much more personal. This is a cute song that sounds like it's
out of the 40's, which doesn't match with the rest of the album, but it's a
refreshing change. It's a good arrangement and well in-tune, but there's
nothing amazing about this song. Definite kudos to the writers, though.
The song is about an awkward guy who invites woman over for spaghetti, and
his sauce makes them go crazy. The mini-"orgasm" sequence in the middle of
the song goes on a little too long, and it's not something I'd want my
family to hear, and the song would've been better with a LOT less of it.
The lisping solo is the perfect touch. Familiar little jazz arrangement
that they got from somewhere I can't quite place — you know, walking
bass line, Manhattan Transferish backup bits. The spoken word bit is
Ernst Toch after a couple of whippet tanks. And it's an original.
When they sing in sync, it works. When the bare bones arrangement
gets a little more complex, it tends to sound like a Slovak tango.
The clip of When Doves Cry FITS in musically, but it doesn't really
BELONG. Plus, the lead vocal on the Doves Cry bit is swallowed up by
an amplified bass gulping sound.
the whitest prince i've ever heard. can't stand it. when the funkiest
funkman our time can claim is destroyed by white people, regardless of
whether they're white or not. pitch is fine. mix is bad. we get an
annoying orgasmic bass in the middle of the tune during the requisite "when
doves cry" breakdown. when it "kicks back in" to thunder, it still sounds
like a breakdown. in fact, the entire song sounds like one big breakdown.
it lacks groove entirely, there's no beat (something for which prince is
famous and always will be is laying down the groove), there's no passion,
there's no soul, there's plenty of egg white.
Excellent opening...but if a number EVER needed
something to drive it, it's this song. There's too many holes in the
arrangement, especially in the choruses. Excellent leads, though.
The intercession of "When Doves Cry" would have been cooler if they
hadn't just pulled that trick in "Jimmy Olsen's
Blues" 7 tracks ago. A very disappointing song considering what
I hear this arrangement possibly being.
Here's what could've opened the album. Very cool arrangement with lots
of good diction, and the basses move the song along well. The tenors (and
altos, I think) sing these arpeggios which are for the most part very well
in tune. Great breakdown in the middle of the song with "When Doves Cry,"
and the chorus where everyone sings is clear and tight.
I think I'm becoming dangerously acclimatized. This tango almost had
me fooled into thinking it had some energy. But I stepped back and
thought about it, and realized they were looking for the sort of
energy that comes in songs like "Fame", and this is, well, not that.
It's actually really choral, in arrangement and delivery — they sound
like a classical chorus trying to lighten their repertoire. "When Doves
Cry Segue" is basic but clean and moves a lot more than the rest of
the song. Which is in no way, shape or form recognizable as Prince,
or whatever his name is(n't) now.
The lead male sounds a lot like Lyle Lovett on the frequent spoken
word sections (which makes sense: it's a Lyle Lovett song.) Given the
blues inspired structure of the song (spoken commentaries followed by
the chorus), I don't think this was a good choice for an a cappella
treatment. There isn't enough contrast between the spoken word
sections and the rest of the song.
this song starts with KZH! KZH! KZH! KZH! from some random resonant artist.
it's unnecessary and does not sound good. AAAGGGH! it's there every time
the group comes back from a little narrative break by the soloist! lyle
(lovett, the original artist) help us all. the soloist simply does not
deliver the power of the solo, nor the humor, with any effectiveness. the
end is the best part, with some woman wailing up top. pretty cool.
Annoying song...given the source material, I can
understand a little weirdness. But this was bizarre....and not very
well done musically. Maybe I just don't "get it"...you know this
crazy alternative music scene and what it does to old fogies like me.
stops to wipe the sarcasm from his chin
This is a strange song. Maybe it's just me, but I've never heard of it,
and I'd rather not again. (There are plenty of songs on this album I
haven't heard before, but that doesn't mean I won't like them!) The song is
a man speaking to someone, someone does percussion, and then they sing a
repetitive chorus "Here I am, yes it's me
." etc. Yes, it's sung in tune
and has a nice swing, but it doesn't do justice to the rest of the song.
This bored me.
Hey, more spoken word as an intro. These guys have a nice touch with
odd little weird bits. I know that sounds odd, but so many groups try
to write cool-weird stuff and just come off as lame — these guys seem
to fall into it naturally and it's most entertaining.
On to the music. This is definitely an atmosphere piece — it's got a
little Elvisy thing going on (though not with the solo). The guy
doing the solo is playing a Yankee-version of mild-mannered,
freak-haired Lyle Lovett, and sings fine, and he's got a great touch
with the spoken bits. The "Kuj! Kuj! Kuj! Kuj!" drummish thing after
those great spoken stuff had me bursting into incredulous laughter,
though it sounds a little too deadpan for my piece of mind. Overall,
the background is basic, not really in tune, but such an incidental
part of the song that it doesn't matter. They go away entirely for
the conversation, which reads almost like a radio poem in the studio
If you're like me, you grew up on Dr. Demento and there's no need for
me to try to describe this truly bizarre cult classic. You could
probably name the artist without thinking twice (Barnes and Barnes, if
you were wondering). This version mostly imitates the nasal, chirpy
voices featured in the original recording. They also try adding some
blend and harmony to the mix. And, naturally, a jokey choral section.
As I confessed before, I'm a big fan of novelty songs, but even if
you're a Spike-Jones-loving-fool like me, I can't imagine why you'd
want to give this a second spin. A bad song choice.
excellent. women sound perfect on this, as do the soloists, exactly weird
enough for the weirdness of the song. the contrapuntal section leaves a
little to be desired in terms of accuracy by the performers, but the
arrangement is nice. i'm loving this one. pitch suffers the further along
we go, but, i don't really care....
Dead-on rendition of the old Dr. Demento staple. I find the original
incredibly cloying, but at least the arrangement of the original song was
good, and covered all the bases.
OK, OK. I know this song, and I always thought it was funny. Come on,
they're singing about what fish heads do and don't do. This is a great,
simple arrangement. I love how the people who sing "Fish heads" over and
over sound like they sucked helium! It made me laugh out loud. The basses
are particularly strong in this song, and the canon in the end is great,
except that the sopranos were too loud.
This would be the perfect soundtrack to a slow muppet ballet. Theme
has similar tuning as in the intro, but this time it works better,
it's in character. Rest of the background is very choral and smoothed
out. Lotsa rehearsal here too, I guess — not that it's that complex,
but given the complete lack of precision on many of the other songs
here, it seems to deserve some note. I guess wacky is really the key.
But if you're bored and want to go check out the
RARB review of the last Artist's
album, you'll notice that they did this same song on that CD, too.
Let's call this song "Just Like You Version 2.0". The only big
differences between the two versions are the soloists and the tempo.
The soloists in both versions do a fine job. The important change is
the tempo. Speeding it up gives the track more drive and help put
what used to be a muddled, aimless bridge back on track. (no pun
intended. Honest.) Version 1.0 was a 7.
This new take is an 8.
this song jumps off the starting line. the soloist is wonderful, with that
total 80's female soloist attitude. she's tight on the rhythm and all over
the part. the arrangement again is nice and bouncy, another of derick
peterson's classics. he's the master of bopping women's parts.
They close well here...lot of groove, lot of energy, good solo. Kinda
has that go-go feel of the early 60's...probably fitting coming from a
group called Voice of the Beehive. Overall, very fun.
I'm glad they picked a fairly strong song to end their album. The basses
control this song and are very powerful. The song filled it's most
important role; to leave the listener with a great impression. The strange
thing is that this song doesn't sound much like the rest of the album-
vocally, stylistically, and regarding quality. I really liked it. The
transitions are smooth, the soloist has great diction and doesn't overpower
the group, and other than lack of significant dynamic changes, the song ends
the album very strongly.
This would have been a great choice to open the CD. It's upbeat, it's
solid, gets things going. I suspect they didn't because it was on
their last CD too, and the version there was better. It was a bit
slower and had a better soloist. Amy Winton has a helluva voice and
brought just the right mix of rasp and smooth to the song; she also
took the halftime section way down and turned its jarringness to
advantage. (It's faster and smoother this time, and better from a
purely musical perspective.) Tracey Grogen, of the current album,
actually does quite a nice job and if I hadn't heard Amy I'd have
even more compliments for her. The current version (same arrangement)
is more connected, but to my ear has more energy with less point.
But comparing it to the last disc is counterproductive. This is one
of the nicer songs on the disc and leaves you feeling decent after
making it through the disc.
Ouch! This can actually be painful to listen to. Just when you want
to like the song, they throw in some intentionally dissonant sounds,
most of which sound like braying donkeys. I wish I knew some other
way to describe it, but it just does. . .
whaddya know, a hidden track! neat. really cool
chord changes. kick ass women's parts. this rules. a group solo
kind of thing, travels through the parts. the women are insane. i
know i've heard this before, i think it's zap mama or something.
[Adam Ant -ed] why didn't they stick this at the beginning of
the album. it's fucking cool as shit, i really like it. the
arrangement is filled with totally random coolness, like a little
operatic voice that enters singing relatively unrelated music. i
really really really liked this one.
I've never heard this "bonus track" song. The chords aren't in tune and
don't settle at all. I just don't get it.
Eerie wacky trio doing a Snow-whitish "Someday My Prince Will Come"
followed by something strange and British. This is like the music
from those carousel scenes in horror movies — you know, where the
camera zeroes in on the jack in the box and the revolving toys just
before it stops abruptly and the heavy breathing cues in.
This is way weird, but in the context of this group it works for
them. I wouldn't copy it onto my mix tapes, but this well conceived,
well sung and definitely art. Not great art, but art, and worth
hearing/seeing, to make you think. I think it deserved a track