Friday, September 14, 2007

CD Review: Shivaree

Tainted Love: Mating Calls and Fight Songs

Ambrosia Parsley, lead singer of Shivaree, still has her peppy but mysterious voice that makes me think of a more refined Betty Boop, but this recent release is a little different from the rest of the band's albums--maybe a bit more elegant while still being comfortable and sincere. Of course, I think Ambrosia's voice is wonderful, and that cartoon reference wasn't an insult at all, it's part of the reason why I find Shivaree's music so appealing. How would I describe their sound? Like a fresh salad served on fine china next to the rotting head of cabbage resting on a paper plate (the cabbage being the not-so-tasty music of so many other girl-led bands).

Shivaree has the ability to take rock, dress it up with just enough fun so that it's not boring, and soften its rough edges so that what results extends beyond any limited musical genre. Tainted Love is easy to listen to, without being easy-listening; it offers the edginess of Shivaree's more alternative side, along with polished, jazzy, and modern rhythms. This combination makes for a perfectly eclectic album that won't have you wanting to skip from one song to another. For instance, "Cold Blooded" is soaked in the happy roughness of a hyped up electric guitar and it's featured right before "Looks That Kill," a mellow but classy tune that brings a 60s mystery movie theme song to mind. I can't forget to mention "Shame On You," which stands out as a fun surprise because of its country-western feel that doesn't conjure up images of a scruffy John Wayne riding on a horse. Shivaree even ventures into the world of R&B, giving a much needed and successful make-over to R. Kelly's original, "Half on a Baby".

I have yet to find a song on this release that disappoints me. Yes, Tainted Love: Mating Calls and Fight Songs gets a star and happy face in my book, which is much better than an A+; it's definitely an album worth checking out and purchasing legally!


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