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Cd Reviews

Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, April 29, 2004
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Desoto Reds

Sounds Like: The music your parents wish you listened to.

See Also: They Might Be Giants, Built to Spill.

Hanglide Thru Yer Window

Listening to Desoto Reds' peppy Hanglide Thru Yer Window as I grumpily walked to school the other day, I couldn't help but be in a good mood.

The super-poppy opening track, "Allowed Loud," opens with a chorus of bike bells and synthesizer that made me feel like shouting out friendly hellos to the irate homeless men and tanning frat boys I passed along the way. And when the bouncy, polka-esque drums of "College Love" came on, I half expected Muppets to start popping out from alleyways to give me friendly reminders to always look before I cross.

This album is fun and good-natured in a Christian ska band kind of way and should be enjoyed by anyone in a good mood.

- Elizabeth Thompson


Donavon Frankenreiter

Sounds Like: Jack Johnson's clone.

See Also: David Gray, John Mayer, Jason Mraz.

Donavon Frankenreiter

The serenity of this man's simple combination of raspy vocals and soulful acoustic guitar riffs go together like Peanut Butter and Jam (Frankenreiter's high school band).

As one of the first artists signed to Jack Johnson's label, Frankenreiter gets much support for his debut album from Johnson himself - who plays ukulele on "Free" - and G. Love, who contributes harmonica, guitar and vocals on "What'cha Know About."

Though most of the songs are about just kickin' it, "On My Mind" and "Butterfly" are sweet little ditties that'll make any girl feel special.

Overall, this album contains what typical tree-huggin' hippy songs are made of: music by overprivileged beach-dwelling white guys who grew up on black music and sing about how beautiful their easygoing lives are.

- Kylee Dawson


Ben Kweller

Sounds Like: Ben Kweller regressed 10 years.

See Also: Ben Folds Five, Radish.

On My Way

The only words come to mind when I think about Ben Kweller's sophomore attempt On My Way are "let down." I think that's because I was expecting a follow-up album to emulate the greatness in his first album.

On My Way seems on its way to nowhere. It lacks a powerful captivating ballad like "In Other Words" from Sha Sha. In fact, the album seems to be an antithesis to his brilliant first attempt, with no song that even remotely levels with Sha Sha.

The first single "The Rules" is too repetitive, while the title track "On My Way" doesn't stray from his signature sound, but seems to miss the mark of what is truly BK; simple but lighthearted, provocative pop music.

- Lauren Hillery


Trey Anastasio

Sounds Like: The score to a PBS murder mystery show.

See Also: Bill Frisell, Phish, John Zorn (sometimes).

Seis De Mayo

I remember picking up Trey's first solo instrumental experiment Surrender to the Air and thinking something along the lines of, "What the fuck?"

Still, free-form jazz seems like a better fit for the Phish front man than Seis De Mayo. String quartets and orchestra arrangements may work for the likes of guitarist Bill Frisell, but Anastasio's attempt comes up short. The songs are neither jazzy nor classical, and a far cry from jam band. The songs are dull. The first track, "Andre The Giant," sounds like a heavily sedated and mute Jimmy Buffett, and the next track, "Prologue," is like diet, caffeine free Peter and the Wolf. With the exception of El-P's most recent album, few artists have been able to make the switch into instrumental music. But even on its own terms, Seis De Mayo is lacking.

- Gabe Joselow


The Vestals

Sounds Like: The British invaded Minnesota.

See Also: Travis, Ben Folds Five.

The Vestals

I could have sworn this band was from England. The Vestals sound exactly like the Brit sensation Travis. Much to my chagrin, I learned that the band is from Minneapolis. My Brit-dar isn't as strong as it once was, though everyone knows the strong British influence of the northern Midwest.

The vocalist sounds like Ben Folds Five, and the music sounds like elite British pop. A winning combination to be sure. And although the lyrics are somewhat trite, I forgive the band. It must be hard copying a sound AND coming up with original lyrics.

Even though it is not as good as the bands it ripped off, it is still easy to listen to. Gee darn, if that isn't reason enough to listen to a band from Minnesota, I'm not sure what is. You might be impressed, don't ya know.

- Celeste Meiffren

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