sabato 21 novembre 2009

Sing Sing "The Joy of Sing-Sing"




Dopo la fine dei Lush, Emma ritorna con un nuovo progetto, sempre a base di melodie eteree, ma più virato verso incanti elettro pop. Un disco gentile, semplice, sognante con magari i St. Etienne e la loro eleganza come punto di riferimento. Se Tegan mena le danze in modo carico, il mondo di Sing Sing saprà donare anche colori più tenui e rilassati e la malinconia di Everything ne è uno splendido esempio. Niente per cui gridare al miracolo, ma un piacevole sottofondo prima di addormentarsi e fare degli splendidi sogni! (2001 Poptones)

The Poptones house-style looms large over Joy of Sing Sing, the first release from the retro pop world of Sing Sing featuring the talents of Emma Anderson (ex-Lush) and Lisa O'Neill, (sometime vocalist with the Mad Professor). The first few tracks are radio friendly, synth-infused and subtly melancholic. "Tegan" has that driving 80s production so successfully used by Garbage, with fuzzed-up bassline and slightly psychedelic harmonies. There's a xylophone on the straight-ahead pop of "Feels Like Summer" which takes the song's 60s spy feel further behind enemy lines. Then there's "Emigré" a duet for him and her with stand-up bass, drum flourishes and an electronic harp. The mid-paced rock of "I Can See You" finishes things off well, it's pretty epic and has the bemusing hookline "Went to Didcot / Back for more". Giving the game away, there's a hidden track at the end that sounds like another band altogether--again a duet, it's a hand in hand folksy stroll down a leafy lane. The shape of Joy Of Sing Sing is never tugged too far away from the St Etienne/Cardigans/Garbage triangle, and fans of well-packaged alt-pop should certainly find something to love about Sing Sing. (Mike Smoughton - http://www.amazon.co.uk/)

The presence of ex-Lush guitarist-vocalist Emma Anderson on Sing-Sing's debut guarantees a certain polish. The ghosts of the Cocteau Twins can also be heard around the edges, mixed with slightly retro '80s electro. Unfortunately, the songwriting here shares another trait of Anderson's former project: inconsistency. For every well-executed melody or hooky chorus, there's a clunky transition or an idea left to dangle and die. "You Don't Know" rips right along, offering a melting guitar line and a catchy (if rather unoriginal) hook, while "I'll Be" wanders over familiar, forgettable terrain before redeeming itself with an oddly touching wisp of birdsong. The limited vocal range and long, swooping phrases of singer Lisa O'Neill, while creating an interesting cabaret quality, ensures a rigid texture and tempo from track to track that derails variety and momentum. Despite it all, the record sounds great; producer and instrumentalist Mark Van Hoen keeps tracks like "Panda Eyes" humming with great swaths of windy synths. (Matthew Cooke - http://www.amazon.com/)

There's something about a lot of music with high female vocals, particularly this brand of sugary electro-pop, that doesn't sit well with me -- call it internalized misogyny, call it projection, but give me scrawny off-key boys or tougher-sounding belting chicks any day. All the same, as I listen to The Joy of Sing-Sing, the few moments where I find myself instinctively wincing at Lisa O'Neill's sweetly girlish vocals are much outweighed by the sheer weight and backbone she and Emma Anderson somehow give to what seems at first to be yet another British electronic-flavored stylish pop record. These are no wispy singer-songwriters here; they have style, grace and charm to spare, but in the sort of way that brooks no argument from any self-important rockers -- or anyone else, for that matter.
Don't get me wrong, this is a very pretty record, and often very much so. There are hooks popping out everywhere here, accented, not cloaked, by the songs' sheen of electronic beats and sighs and analog keyboards. Underneath all those shiny, shiny flourishes and moddish overtones, though, is some seriously smart, witty music, for the most part. "Feels Like Summer" is a faintly Motown-flavored, downright gleeful "I told you so" of a kiss-off song, and "Panda Eyes" is probably the most danceable song ever written about having a hangover. With its brief flashes of horns and strings (however synthesized), "Far Away From Love" sounds like a particularly odd but still damned catchy collaboration between Beulah and St. Etienne. It's a record, that, for its occasionally trip-hop leanings, is really about the songs, rather than about sound textures and breathy singers.
Together with their many collaborators, O'Neill and Anderson, by sheer force of personality, have outstripped their musical pasts -- the former chiefly working as vocalist on others' electronic-based projects, and the latter in all-about-the-ethereal Lush -- and created a glamorous, evocative sound with a solid pop base, rather than mood pieces with pop trappings. It ends up being even moodier for all the genuine heart and wit behind it. Now there's style for you! (Mandy Shekleton - http://www.splendidezine.com/)

Two years following the tragic demise of Lush, guitarist Emma Anderson formed the dream pop outfit Sing-Sing with vocalist Lisa O'Neill (Locust, Kid Loco) in 1998. The pairing couldn't have been more magical, for Sing-Sing presented a glowing dynamic. By fall 2002, American indie fans finally got their hands on the duo's debut album, The Joy of Sing-Sing; it had been previously released in Europe a year earlier, but the stateside release was worth the wait. The Joy of Sing-Sing showcases Anderson's signature vocal shimmer. O'Neill is a matchless partner for Anderson, as their melodies vocally intertwine to create sheer bliss. Sing-Sing engages in classic dreamlike aesthetics, but with a combination of '60s pop and electronic bits. There's a healthy ambience to this album, particularly on the airy dance blend of "Tegan." "Feels Like Summer" and "Me and My Friend" are pure, luxurious pop, while also warm for a daydream trip. Vibrant synth beats carry "Panda Eyes," while "You Don't Know" spirals around heavy keyboards like early-'80s new wave. Sing-Sing discovers its own musical universe on The Joy of Sing-Sing. Anderson has slightly stuck to the pop formula that made her an indie darling in the 1990s; however, she's designed it to be her very own. She and O'Neill are a sharp pair. The Joy of Sing-Sing is a divine first album -- fans will undoubtedly be delighted. (http://www.allmusic.com/)


- Everything
- Tegan
- I'll Be
- Me and My Friend
- Far Away from Love
- Panda Eyes
- Command
- Feels Like Summer
- Émigré
- You Don't Know
- Underage
- I Can See You


SING SING

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