Now all Vaccaro needs is better production. I receive hundreds of beautiful-sounding CDs full of sensitive, expert musicianship, all gorgeously recorded, mixed, and mastered on the best equipment with the finest touch. But so much of it is all the same: affectless shout-rock, or sensitive boys without the songwriting chops to match their performance skills. I'd much rather listen to V-Project.
Roots of Creation, Live
This band has perfected a jam-reggae sound that's ideal in a live setting, as reflected on this disc. Pop-reggae numbers like "Oh Lord," "Rise Up," and a cover of "Watching the Detectives" lead into dark rhythmic jams dusted with an electronica flavor and boosted by funk-rock riffs. The four musicians work together with evident joy as well as the tightness that comes from touring.
The band's vocals don't measure up to their musicianship, though in many cases (like "Oh Lord" and "Peace Love and Music") they make up in passion for what they lack technically, much like many punk bands. On the other hand, the vocals in "Void" - the second of two lengthy jams at the core of the disc - are low in the mix, and sound intrinsically half-hearted too. I should mention that I tend to be prejudiced against songs that are about music. "Void" features the redundant lyric, "Music set me free," something Roots of Creation does with their music without having to say it, from Chris Beam's heavy, insistent bass to Tal Pearson's organ and all the sounds in between. When just four guys can go to this many funky and interesting places, you want to go with them. This is definitely a band to catch - as the title of the CD suggests - live.
Amelia White, Motorcycle Dream
Amelia White's melodic, intensely flavored alt-country gets the full-on production treatment here, with top Nashville musicians backing her up on a fresh crop of original songs. Somewhere between the focused attack of Lucinda Williams and the flowery lyricism of Kim Richey, White's rather heavy musical sensibility finds full expression through her liquidy vocals and her fine, if occasionally over-arranged, backing band. One or two lighter songs to relieve the grim mood would make it a better all-the-way-through set, but the main thing is that this is a powerful CD that rewards multiple listens. The disc isn't out yet but you can preview a few tracks at Amelia's Myspace page.