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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    CD Reviews

    This Ashlee Simpson will seem very different to you if you’ve heard her other material. Following suit of mainstream music recently, Bittersweet World is over-produced with a bevy of synthesizer beats and intricate rhythm loops. Though Timbaland’s touch helped to redefine Simpson’s sound and is instrumentally impressive, her vocals and lyrics just don’t contain much depth.

    Bittersweet World introduces the album’s main thread of ’80s electro beats with “”Outta My Head.”” Simpson sings her lyrics abruptly with such a bravado you could probably picture Gwen Stefani coining the same song.

    “”Rule Breaker”” puts on the same tough front as Simpson brags about how she and her boyfriend both have tattoos and like to fight and drink all night. The chorus is pretty catchy, but the verses are too obnoxious to really take the song seriously.

    Ashlee Simposon
    Bittersweet World – Geffen
    1 1/2 stars

    “”No Time For Tears”” is one of the better tracks and flaunts a chorus that comes in at full force with a more serious subject matter and strong backup vocals, which Simpson needs more often than not.

    Simpson throws back to the sound of her previous albums with “”Little Miss Obsessive”” through piano laced with stuttered synth beats, yet the song is strongly guitar-based. Her frank lyrics “”I guess we’re really over/ So come over, I’m not over it”” pound through the song and add depth to the end, yet it never really takes off.

    “”Ragdoll”” is yet another track where Simpson sounds like she is trying to mimic Gwen Stefani to the point where it detracts from the song.

    The title track is instrumentally well rounded, but is loaded with cliché phrases.

    Timbaland’s influence really comes through in “”Murder,”” which has an exotic feel to it, yet has Simpson singing in a way that doesn’t suit her.

    The last track on the album, “”Never Dream Alone”” is a breath of fresh air with its raw piano, Simpson’s voice stripped of backup vocals and lack of complex beats.

    Though Simpson managed to take her sound in a new, more mature direction, she needs to stop trying to be someone or something she’s not.

    – Kelli Hart

    All hail, Mostly Bears. The loved and revered local experimental rock trio has finally released its debut album, The Ed Mitchell Clinic – a release that will likely neither make nor break the boys.

    The album opens with “”The Digital Divide,”” an unfortunately mediocre track to kick off the release. Brian Lopez’s generally soaring falsetto isn’t always understandable over Nick Wantland’s ambitious driving drum. Although the song doesn’t flounder, with duh-worthy lyrics like “”the more we learn, the less we know,”” the following songs on the album are more musically appealing.

    “”Leda Atomica,”” a carry over from the band’s noteworthy EP Only Child, evolves into a larger sound but the emphasis on the instruments again takes away from Lopez’s falsetto. Also the chorus takes a bit too generously from the “”Edward Scissorhands”” soundtrack – although the wispy vocals might follow a different melody, the notes underneath are uncannily similar. And seriously, isn’t there better music to sample than Danny Elfman?

    The Ed Mitchell Clinic
    Mostly Bears – Funzalo Records
    3 1/2 stars

    Track No. 3 kicks the band into gear as “”Airports”” is arguably the best track on the album. The five-minute song provides time for instrumental interludes and pairings of the glockenspiel with a toy piano ð- who would’ve thought music so elementary could be so audibly pleasing? The lyrics prove to be catchy and pleasing with lines like “”Oh how I missed you baby, oh how I missed you/ You know how I loved you baby, know how I love you.””

    Not all of Mostly Bears’ tracks are only pleasing to the Tucson hipster crowd that typically attend its Club Congress and Plush shows. “”Your Smile Decorates The Afternoon”” has a harder edge to it, primarily due to Lopez’s guitar and soft vibrato moans, showing a greater range than just prog rock.

    “”Passeig de Gracia,”” the album’s last track, is a graceful conclusion as the initially minimalist instrumental lines (only guitar, bass and drums here) take a complementary appropriate approach to Lopez’s vocals that smoothly promise, “”you’ll be the death of me,”” while building into a strong outlet for his growls and Geoff Hidalgo’s powerful bass line.

    The Ed Mitchell Clinic is a strong, professional release from Mostly Bears, which might not catapult them to more promising heights than the CMJ charts, but is pleasing and promises more growth in years to come.

    – Jamie Ross

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