Album reviews

Sep 142005
Authors: Nicholas LoFaro

Kaci Brown, "Investigator"

If you think the cover makes Kaci Brown look like an up and coming, original artist, don't be fooled. This album appears deep until the music actually starts. Is she a Mickey Mouse Club rejection? Or is she a Mickey Mouse Club alumnus? That doesn't matter though, because we don't need either.

This young, pop narcissist has a different pose and picture on every page in the linear notes (so cute); however, she unfortunately included her lyrics. It appears that she only co-wrote most of the songs – key word here is "co-wrote," meaning "half ass – " which is really not that surprising

Each song goes to great lengths to annoy. Her voice sounds so overly produced that it won't be surprising when she gets caught lip-syncing and blames it on acid-reflux or a stubbed toe.

With song titles like "SOS," "My Baby," and "Cadillac Hotel," you know what to expect. With lyrics such as "I don't speak Portuguese, Chinese, Vietnamese, Bulgarian, Italian, French or German/But I know what you mean/I like the way you do it boy," you'll scratch your head and feel stupid. Maybe she knows Japanese, uh, a good guess would be, NO. Perhaps you'll feel a seizure coming on when she actually sings: "Dum dum/Dum dum dum/It's like/Dum dum dum," … oh hell no.

Fans of Britney Spears, Mandy Moore, JoJo and other obnoxious music will probably eat this stuff up like Skittles, but the rest of us will kindly plug our ears, or simply disconnect the stereo, whatever it takes. On the song "Like 'Em Like That," she says, "Boys all these boys only boys/Got nothing but boys on my mind." Her father should be worried. How old is this girl anyway? And lastly, you'll feel a little woozy, perhaps even sick, when she sings: "I feel I'm stranded on an island/Can anybody hear my SOS?" And the answer is, … Nope!

The Coral, "The Invisible Invasion"

Fine U.K. Export "The Coral" Reinvents Psychedelic Rock

The Coral is a magnificent band. North America probably has not had the opportunity to hear them, but they have been critically acclaimed in Liverpool, England since 2002. Already four-albums strong, it is not surprising this seven-piece band seems to have one of the tightest sounds in modern rock. However, upon listening to just one song on "The Invisible Invasion," you'll find it difficult to call The Coral "modern."

The Coral is brilliantly inventive, propelling an arena of different pop sounds that can easily be classified as both melodic and trippy. "The Invisible Invasion" might be a lot different from everything else on modern rock radio, but it would easily fit in the '60s. The fun, psychedelic use of vocal harmonies, phasing guitars and the retro-swirl of organ will echo The Kinks, The Guess Who and The Byrds. The singer sounds like a happier Jim Morrison with his baritone voice, and his lyrics are just as poetic and ambiguous. The haunting vocal arrangements overlapping the guitar riffs and garage drumming will immediately attract fans of The Doors, while at the same time, fans of retro rock 'n 'roll bands such as the Strokes will also tip their ear.

But unlike modern bands that have channeled retro sounds – otherwise known as "throw-back bands" – The Coral don't seem like they are trying to impersonate anything from the '60s psychedelic genre of music. While the band members found influence in Van Morrison, Leonard Cohen and Pink Floyd, they don't just copy the classics. The first single, "In The Morning," is a happy-go-lucky acoustic jam that features a steel drum, while the album opener, "She Sings The Mourning," is a fast-paced, car-chase song calling back to the first days of punk rock.

The song "Arabian Sand" is perfect for a desert drive and would be perfect to listen to while reading anything by Hunter S. Thompson. "Arabian Sand" is so high energy and trippy that it will make you think of a journey with red cactuses and purple coyotes guiding you along. Things get creepy on the acoustic song "Far From The Ground" where a fast paced drumbeat combats the vocal harmonies over somber guitar chords for an intensely powerful and ambient classic.

Watch for the Coral on tour this fall and if you have been looking for some original rock in the cloudiness of redundant radio hits, look no further than your local record store and check this band out.

Nicholas LoFaro is a senior English major. His reviews run every Thursday in the Verve.

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