G Train - Single (2019)
Review By Dan Fister
April 10, 2020
The Tarpeggios have released two albums that are both over three years old, though the single G Train is the first submission reviewed by RARB. The group's Thirdstory cover features the talented Zac Lee, Will Fangmann, and Cate Byrne as rotating soloists and a dulcet trio. Fangmann, in particular, displays great control in the upper register and sings clear, stylistically appropriate runs.
Arranger Gayathri Raghavendra shows potential with some intriguing elaborations on the original song. The second verse, buoyed by Byrne's alto stylings, builds into the next chorus with more movement in the backs than the first time around. An already fun breakdown section pits the trio against the rest of the group's now increasingly present and harmonized countermelody, a dynamic preferable to the original's cluttered version.
Even with these welcome innovations, the arrangement feels repetitive by the final chorus. Raghavendra relies too much on having the upper voices hold long "ooh"s and "ah"s that often lack direction or intensity. To their credit, the singers create a seamless wall of sound thanks to a tight group blend. But they sing with too pretty and rounded of a tone, and not enough dynamic contrast and forward energy for this song. The similarly static rhythm section merely holds down the fort rather than adding creative layers to the sound. My one production critique of Liquid 5th is that the bass and vp are buried in the mix on this otherwise fine track. Those three choices negate the ambient yet driving aesthetic of the original song and hinder the arrangement and track from truly prospering.
G Train gives us a glimpse into the newest generation of this UNC group. Although uneven, the single shows promise for future Tarpeggios recordings to come.