Thursday, February 27, 2014


Here's a surprising album.  Lake Street Dive comes out of Boston, and has been treading the boards for several years, before a breakthrough performance on the Showtime broadcast of the Celebration of the Music of Inside Llewyn Davis concert, where they came close to stealing the show.  Since then it's been all the big TV shows and Rolling Stone's band to watch, etc.  But what's surprising is how basic this is.  Basic, in the best way.

What you have is r'n'b, pop, soul, big harmonies, essentially 70's music.  Killer vocals, especially lead singer Rachael Price, kinda smoky, kinda jazzy.  And of all things, there's not a hint of studio in the music;  no effects, no ambient washes, no great amounts of gizmos, it's about as clean as you'll hear.  Just singers and musicians doing what they're supposed to, without using anything to make them artificially better.

That's not to say there aren't overdubs and such, it's just back to the basics of classic record-making, and they sounds great. Bobbie Tanqueray is bubbly, almost girl-group 60's, a warning about a bad character, and tons of harmonies.  The title cut is tough-luck soul, an excellent lyric about a woman who bought a camera to take pictures of her love, who then dumps her, and now "I'm taking landscapes, I'm taking still lifes, I'm taking bad self portraits of a lonely woman."  Seventeen has Jackson Five verses and then dirty Prince guitar all over the chorus.  This is just one fun, smart album, made by talented folks.  Remember those?

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