dimanche, novembre 20, 2005


Album Review: Sing-Sing and I
Artist: Sing-Sing

Reviewer: Jen of Stratosphere Fanzine

These are my impressions and thoughts about the album as a music
appreciator (unfortunately, not a music creator!) - Jen

1. Lover - The perfect intro song to the Sing-Sing and I album. Smooth and seductive, with Lisa singing in a rich, delectable voice, and Emma on background vocals, over flowingly-strummed guitar. My only complaint is that the song is too short; I usually play it twice before listening to the rest of the album!

2. Come, Sing Me a Song - This alternately strutting and swaying song has a David Bowie-like guitar strum and 70s feel (from Ziggy Stardust era?) and every once in a while a guitar line that is similar to Everything Will Flow by Suede. Lisa sings in a breathy voice reminiscent of Sarah Cracknell of Saint Etienne. The horns in the chorus are a tad too brash and overpower the vocal chorus, but the "oh, yeah" part of the chorus is brill!

3. Mister Kadali - Starts with the turning of the dial on a radio, going through different stations, then stopping on "Mr. Kadali - African spiritual healer and advisor" and his spiel to help with any problem...then the song steps in with a jaunty rhythm and upbeat, clear, ringing guitars and Lisa singing, with haunting background vocals, and Lisa sounding like Kate Bush on the high notes. There are old piano and flute/cello sounds that create a melancholy backdrop to the song, and a breakbeat mid-way through it all, hinting at a dance-type vibe; a very interesting story-telling-type song in the tradition of a great Saint Etienne song.

4. A Modern Girl - A flowing, 80s-synth and drums backdrop of sound (like Depeche Mode, with speeding-along-highway sounds); a driving beat, insistent rhythm and electro/industrial undercurrent, with high, hard, chiming guitars, echoey vocal bridges, and Lisa singing in a darker, bittersweet voice tinged with melancholy. Moody and catchy.

5. Ruby - Wow, this track is so sonically ornate that it's difficult to know where to begin to explain it! A dazzling amalgam of different musical genres (sinuous, exotic Middle Eastern strings motif, squalling 90s rock guitars, electro-blips) with Lisa singing in pure, clear tones, once again sounding like Kate Bush on the high notes, and layered background vocals. I adore the lines "In chapter four, it's full of thunder, but by chapter five, it feel like summer." - a knowing wink to an earlier song of theirs, Feels Like Summer.

6. I Do - A piano-based, story-telling song with strummed guitar, possibly harpsicord (?), a brief spot of harmonica courtesy of Lisa, with vocals to rival Kate Bush and importance on the lyrics and delivery. This mid-tempo song is sweet and straightforward, until you hit the mid-song "do do do do..." break, which is just lovely.

7. Going Out Tonight - This is my favorite song on the album, and it reminds me of a Lush song. It's a 3-part "chorus" of a song with ever-shifting vocal layers and melodic lines and it washes over you in waves of melancholy beauty. It sounds like there are 2 drumbeats and Lush-like hard, bright guitar patterns.

One part has Lisa sing "I'm going out tonight" in a cool, muted, detached way; the 2nd part isLisa talk-singing lyrical phrases; the 3rd part is distant, echoey, layered background vocals that create a moodiness and expansiveness in the song that evolves into a slowly high-soaring chorus that eventually takes over.

I liken the song to being in an artificially-lighted underground tunnel (like on Hooverphonic's album cover for Blue Wonder Powder Milk), all "underwatery" and muffled, and then getting to the end of tunnel, and getting out to the night sky - dotted with stars and endless, and breathing in the clean, hard air...

8. Unseen - A slow-tempo song based on piano and guitar, a bit Depeche Mode-sounding with synths and breathy vocals by Lisa, Emma harmonizing beautifully with Lisa on the main parts of the song, and an instrumental ending with "added" sounds that recalls a Doves song (sorry, forget the name of song!). Pretty downbeat, but nice.

9. The Time has Come - This mid-tempo song has a carnival background sound and features a multitude of diseparate voices as the chorus. It's a song like raise your glass to and sway along with. I like the song-structure, but thought the varied vocal chorus came off too strident and flat. Very interesting lyrics though... "Looking down through all the years, mapped out in days then just in tears, and with dissenters all around, it's time to move and make a sound."

10. When I was Made - Another highlight of the album, this is an uplifting, grin-inducing, heart-gladdening, joy of a song - all blue skies, bells chiming brightly, birds chirping, and flowers blooming - the song makes you glad to be alive, which is a really amazing thing for a song to do!! It's ABBA-esque/60s girl group in the best meaning possible, with church bell and burnished guitar sounds and a great, positive vocal delivery by Lisa.

11. A Kind of Love - The best ending to a captivating album. An evocative, mid-tempo, piano and guitar-based story-telling song with amazing lyrics ("We spoke too soon, if we could try it again, begin at the end, take it so slowly, and I will let you get to know me") and Lisa sounding like Kate Bush and hitting the high notes with ease. Listen carefully (or check out the lyrics) to the 'kind' of love Lisa is singing about as the song progresses...

To wrap it all up, Sing-Sing and I is a jewel of an album - make that a box of jewels!!

Song structure and sounds are well-crafted and multi-faceted, with careful attention to detail - complex, melodic, and extremely catchy. Lyrics are stunning - intelligent, witty, and deep - like the pages of a book you can't put down.

Lisa's voice is rich, velvety, and quintessentially British - strong, sweet(but not too coy), and clearly enunciated, with turns of a phrase or even word that change the meaning of a sentiment of a song.