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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    CD Reviews

    Scissor Sisters: Ta-Dah
    Sisters doing it for themselves

    Mix one-half disco, one-quarter pop and one-quarter glamour rock and you get Ta-Dah, the Scissor Sisters’ second album.

    Double servings highly suggested. Bellbottoms optional.

    After two years, the Scissor Sisters are back with falsetto vocals, catchy Euro beats and lyrics that teach life lessons.

    Ta-Dah was a natural evolution from their first self-titled album. In the first album, it was evident that although they had the formula to make hits, they still weren’t sure what they would stick with.

    On Ta-Dah, they’ve chosen to stick to disco-inspired tunes, which are making a comeback in the music scene, and they’ve gotten results.

    The album makes you want to throw on your sharp red leather jacket and tight blue bell bottoms and strut your way through the city Çÿ la John Travolta in “”Saturday Night Fever.””

    “”Ooh”” puts the Bee Gees to shame with its hypnotic falsetto and catchy lyrics. “”Don’t you give me them blues/I got magic in my dancing shoes/Let me hear you say ooooh,”” sings lead vocalist Jake Sheers over a syncopated piano. Sheers gives the songs a powerful range of vocals.

    Songs like “”Land of a Thousand Words”” have a richer vocal sound. You can imagine Sheers singing this song back in the ’70s in a British pub. His voice has a timbre reminiscent of the Elton John of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.

    It’s no surprise that Elton John himself lent a helping hand on the piano in “”I Don’t Feel Like Dancing,”” a song that doesn’t make you feel like doing anything but that.

    There’s a sweet irony in this album more than the first. The songs have lively, disco-infused elements, while the lyrics can be a bit blue and dark.

    Take “”Intermission”” for example: “”Don’t let those precious moments fool you/Happiness is getting you down/A rainbow never smiles a place/It’s just a candy-colored frown.””

    But this is what works for the Scissor Sisters: That irony of mixing happy, upbeat music with lyrics that can be depressing at times.

    This Euro-inspired disco jiving album has had more of an impression on U.K. fans, although the band will do a small leg in the United States this month.

    The smart, easy-to-listen-to, enjoyable dance numbers on Ta-Dah are amazing and yet another surprise from this New York band that has defied the odds.

    Ernesto Romero


    The Decemberists: The Crane Wife
    No need to wait until winter

    Listening to The Decemberists has always elicited the feeling of sitting in on a bard in some dingy old pub in turn-of-the-century England. Thankfully, on their major-label debut, they’ve avoided the pitfall of nearly all indie artists when they cross over: overproduction (See: Regina Spektor). All signing to Capitol Records has done is allow the band to discover electricity.

    On The Crane Wife, their follow-up to last year’s Picaresque, half of the album includes keyboards or rough electric guitars backing up or sometimes even leading the ever-present acoustic guitar and piano.

    Fortunately, these additions don’t spoil the charming folk rock that singer/guitarist Colin Meloy and Co. have cultivated in the past five years. There are plenty of endearing, bittersweet love songs throughout, like the title tracks. Yes, “”tracks.”” Among other discoveries, the band seems to have stumbled upon the multipart song.

    The title comes from a Japanese folk tale about wounded birds, secretive wives and a self-destructive husband, territory so familiar that Meloy could have written it himself.

    Though the majority of songs keep to the short and sweet Decemberists motif of happy melodies with dreary lyrics of doomed relationships or killings, there are a couple tracks that, clocking in at over 11 minutes apiece, strive for epic grandeur.

    One such song, “”The Island,”” begins with a slide guitar riff and piano melody that can only be described as funky, before evolving into a mellotron-infused ballad and finally ending with a beautifully sorrowful melody.

    However, even with all this genre-jumping, there’s never a doubt that this is a Decemberists album. Tender acoustic melodies set the tone for most of the album, with songs like “”Yankee Bayonet (I Will be Home Then)”” and “”Shankill Butchers,”” a song based on a group of Protestant terrorists in 1970s Ireland.

    In the end, there’s hardly anything to dislike about The Crane Wife. The only complaint one might have is that, at 10 tracks long, it’s over before you know it. It’s an album that’s easy to fall for. Each track has a way of striking a chord within you, stirring emotions for those poor characters that get swept up in all that tragedy.

    Derek Jordan

    Lupe Fiasco: Food and Liquor

    A rapper rapping about skateboarding. I do believe this is unprecedented in rap history. “”Kick Push”” is probably one of the best singles of the year, yet many people do not know the name of the artist. Well, it’s Lupe Fiasco and he just might be rap’s new big name.
    Fiasco has been featured in the Kanye West song “”Touch the Sky”” from West’s album Late Registration.

    The rapper’s debut album Food and Liquor has several decent songs but overall is not nearly as groundbreaking as say, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five’s The Message in 1982, back at the beginning of hip-hop.

    “”I Gotcha”” and “”Sunshine”” are some other good tracks, but nothing else on Food and Liquor can beat the album’s phenomenal hit single, “”Kick Push.”” Most of the other songs just sound like a lesser Kanye West.

    Still, with the likes of Kanye West, Jay-Z and Pharrell helping him out, Lupe Fiasco should continue to grow as a musician and rapper. Food and Liquor is just the beginning for this skateboarding rapper.

    Amy Wieseneck

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