Wonderful Educated Bear
Two Sheds Music
guest review by Doug Kabourek
never been into rap. Perhaps that's because all the rap I've been
fed via the mainstream is so awful. This album confirms that rap
and creativity can coexist.
Athens' Heros Severum
sound like a combination of Rage Against the Machine and The B-52's.
Eric Friar's style of speak-sing complements Sherryl Branch's background
vocals much the way that Fred Schneider's did Kate Pierson's and
Cindy Wilson's. It's all placed upon a bed of complex and extremely
rocking guitar and synth work, thus leading to a pretty damn original
sound. By the end of the first song, I was into it.
Two things could be improved.
First is the lyrics, which are overwhelmingly positive -- something
I really like about the disc. It seems the whole hip-hop genre was
invented to bitch and act tough, so positive (and clever) lyrics
are quite welcome. However, they can be a bit cheesy at times. The
final chorus of "Hidden in the Words" is the chant, "Don't
be afraid to be proud / Hey Hey Hey" and while that's a
great message, it's a little high on the old cheese-o-meter (and
believe me, I have a high tolerance for cheese).
The second improvement
for next time is Branch's melodies. There are only two songs that
make good use of a girl who can actually sing: "Grounded
Like a Prop Plane" and "From Foot to Foot." She is
put on shout-out duty for the rest, which is a shame. A hip-hop
band with a melody vocalist is a rarity; her voice should be given
a great melody to sing on every song, just like Pierson's and Wilson's
Posted Dec. 2,
2002. Copyright © 2002 Tim McMahan.
All rights reserved.
all placed upon a bed of complex and extremely rocking guitar
and synth work, thus leading to a pretty damn original sound."
This ain't no hip-hop CD (and there's nothing here that resembles
Rage). Friar has a vocal range akin to Stan Ridgway (Wall
of Voodoo), which means it borders on speak-singing a la Fred
Schneider or early David Byrne. It would take a rather large
leap of faith to confuse what Friar (or Schneider) does as
"rap," and there's nothing rhythmically on this
CD that resembles R&B or hip-hop. Heros Severum are mining
the same prog rock territory that Les Savy Fav are trodding
'pon these days -- power-chord fueled art-rock written in
strange keys with weird time changes -- this is the next generation
of prog, written by a group of indie rockers who grew up with