Thursday, June 26, 2008

Float On

Take the Whole
Midrange & Boost It,
Bar/None Records

The wild sounds and colors blend together madly like the
pop/rock equivalent of a Bollywood musical full of too-bright
colors, people dancing wildly, and big smiles all around.

-- Tim Sendra, All Music Guide

With a title like Take the Whole Midrange & Boost It, I was
expecting something with more oomph, but Oppenheimer's
space-age pop is lighter than air. It's like ELO on helium, and Jeff
Lynne's combo weren't exactly heavy (ah, but they were good).

These mad Belfast scientists, Rocky and Sean, have talent to
burn, but there's isn't a lot to grab onto. Carefully-enunciated
choir-boy vocals layered over Vocoder, Moog, Casio, and E-bow
emanations makes for a dreamy, robotic sound (Do androids
dream of electric sheep? No, they dream of Oppenheimer.)

Granted, pop doesn't have to have a dark side, but if it's too light,
it might just float away. The one exception is "The Never Never," on which guest vocalist Matt Caughthran adds some protein-
filled crunch to Oppenheimer's electronic soufflé.

Rachael Sage, Chandelier, MPress Records

Despite Rachael Sage's feisty lipstick-red haircolor,
Chandelier is thoroughly mersh singer/songwriter stuff
(you won't find any indication of a punk-rock past here).

Her achingly sincere vocals and intricate piano-playing re-
flect classical training, and I'm sure she crafted this record
with care, but I have zero tolerance for ladylike Lifetime-mov-
ie-of-the-week material.
If you're into Jane Siberry, Sarah Mc-
Lachlan, or Rachael Yamagata—though on "Mexico," Sage cites
"Costello, Emmy Lou, and Steve"—you may feel otherwise.

Topaz & Mudphonic, Music for Dorothy, MOWO! Inc. [8/26/08]

Austin singer/sax player Topaz McGarrigle cranks out the jazzy boogie-woog-
ie on Music for Dorothy.

Clearly, he's spent a minute
or two with Little Feat and
the Allman Brothers Band,
and that's okay. I may have been born in the East and raised in
the North, but I've got a high tolerance for Southern-friend rock
'n' roll (granted, Skynyrd doesn't do it for me, but you can't win
'em all). Bring on the harmonica, the Hammond B3, and the Wur-
litzer electric piano! And lyrics about frogs and cicadas. Some-
where Kandia Crazy Horse is nodding her head in agreement.

Endnote: Images from the All Music Guide and Planetary Group.

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