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Issue #30 May 2001

An Interview with The Mobius Band
We Could Call It Electronic Rock...
(Click Here)

Juniper Lane
The Wes Hollywood Story
Coby Brown Group

Juniper Lane

10 song CD

The most striking thing about Juniper Lane is the undeniable voice of lead singer/pianist Vivion Smith. At times she comes across with amazing strength and vitality in the vein of Fiona Apple, and at others she is gentle and introspective like Natalie Merchant. Her vocals are mesmerizing at once, drawing you in from the very first listen. The group does a wonderful job of enhancing her range, giving her room to fully express her talent through a good mix of moods and dynamics.

The album begins powerfully with the explosive Grace, a song which is overwhelming with Smith's emotional delivery. Vices slithers along with biting rhythms and a catchy chorus, while Train relies on a gentle flowing melody. The trippy intro of The Glare gives way to an intensity-building progression which never lets up its angst-filled grip.

This album is one tight bundle of energy, bursting at the seams.

MISH MASH Mandate: Dynamo

Juniper Lane Website

"There's Nothing Routine About Space Travel."

Fusi Pumper Records
12 song CD

SpaceStation continues the seemingly never-ending stream of freaky funk-pop from Fusi Pumper, the label fronted by the magical producer Pfilbryte (see Pfilbryte & Pi). The lead singer/songwriter of SpaceStation, only identified as "Donnie," has a perfectly soothing voice that fits well with the super-slick tunes which are as catchy and contagious as pop can be. The music is sweet, but not too sticky. It avoids the bubble-gum by providing a rhythmic swift kick in the pants, a la Prince, standing tough without losing the almighty hook.

This is best evident in smart funk sounds of Yea Yea Yea and What Is Up?. The relatively quiet sounds of Looking Down From Here provide an emotional outlet, while I Drive The Bus opts for more silliness, borrowing liberally from the aforementioned Prince's Alphabet Street for a super funky good time. Donnie is so on the ball that two questionable covers come off looking cool. Who else would be able to pull of a happy-go-lucky reworking of Summer In The City and a trip-hop-rock version of Donovan's Sunshine Superman?

Fusi Pumper apparently has a roster full of young fresh pop talent willing to take a few chances. I can't wait to see what they do next.

MISH MASH Mandate: Pop Tarts

Fusi Pumper Website

The Wes Hollywood Story
The Girls Are Never Ending

Net Wt. Records
13 song CD

The Wes Hollywood Story has all the main ingredients for a great party band. The group blends the masterful pop rock stylings of Cheap Trick with the huge and sloppy guitar antics of Urge Overkill. The only problem is the length of the album. A little editing could turn a good album into a great one; just pare down the overbearing 13 tunes to eight, and this would be a tight and efficient disc that packs a knockout punch.

The album starts off promising enough, with the infectious She's Gonna Let You Go and the clever rhythms of Prepare To Qualify. It then gets bogged down in a few so-so tunes, coming up for air every once and a while for memorable gems like Weston-Super-Mare and the sugary pop rock of H-Bomb. The disc is rounded out with the excellent rock groove of There Go The Girls, a song which puts an exclamation point on the band's full potential. Tie together songs like this with a little less filler, and you've got a CD you can't pry out of the player.

MISH MASH Mandate: Party Potential

Wes Hollywood Story Website

Coby Brown Group

CBG Music
8 song CD

With a homegrown sound and style that rivals the likes of the Wallflowers and Dave Matthews, the Coby Brown Group sets aside all pretension and lets the music do the talking. They wrap their middle-of-the-road rock with soulful vocals from Mr. Brown himself, creating a catchy blend of music that may not be completely original, but sure is fun to listen to.

The songs have a striking familiarity to them, as if they are already old favorites. Songs like The Distance and I'm Not Leaving rise out of the speakers effortlessly, hypnotic in their simplicity. Dangerous lilts along in old country & western fashion, while My Baby rips along as a relentless and driving rock song.

This is the perfect disc to turn up on your next road trip, heading for fun in the sun with songs that are ready-made for summertime.

MISH MASH Mandate: Endless Summer

Coby Brown Group Website


Velour Recordings
9 song CD

With flowing grooves that touch on equal parts soul and jazz, Kudu blends a musical amalgam which is captivating and always full of surprises. Tied together with the luxurious voice of Sylvia Gordon, the band explores the boundaries of pop music in this ambitious release.

The urgent rhythms of Sugar shows off the jazz chops of the group, experimenting with the soaring vocals of Gordon over the frantic driving beat in the background. Surprise brings along the funky flavor of hip-hop, married to the jazzy be-bop horns of the chorus. Kudu manages to throw a few curves at the listener, as the quick offbeat rhythms of Tell Me A Bedtime Story, Cinemajik, and Restless provide a sharp contrast to the smooth sounds of Force of Nature and Temptation.

The band embraces jazz without apology, giving a nod to pop without compromising the firm foundation. It's a bold statement, but one they pull of with skill and obvious authority.

MISH MASH Mandate: Kudu Kudos

Velour Music Website

© 2001 Mish Mash Music Reviews, All Rights Reserved