What our critics are listening to
11:27 AM, May 20, 2013
WALK OFF THE EARTH
R.E.V.O. Here’s your fun summer album for 2013. A quintet with all of the quirkiness and pop harmonies of fellow Canadians Barenaked Ladies and Moxy Fruvous, and the anthemic chants of Passion Pit, but none of Passion Pit’s despondent self-loathing. Walk Off the Earth is bright and upbeat: The title track is an acronym for “Realize Every Victory Outright,” and these uncertain times get a smackdown with lines like “I gotta run this rage right out of me.” Pithy, sweet instrumentation (kazoos, didgeridoos, cigar-box guitars) meet infectious world music percussion-filled grooves and sensibilities. Walk Off the Earth has built a huge Internet fan base, thanks to some clever cover songs. Check out the band’s YouTube video of Australian electronica musician Gotya’s “Somebody That I Used to Know.”
LIP LOCK. A decade without a studio album is a long time to be away from the rap game. Nevertheless, Eve a tough-but-flirty chick from Philly is back and ready to rock. Eve always did have a little edge, so her lyrics have some bite in “She Bad Bad” and plenty of bravado in “Grind or Die,” where she claims “my buzz stayed strong, your buzz never started.” But those who prefer her more Ruff Ryders’ First Lady-esque may not be pleased with the electric dance music vibe of “Keep Me From You.” When she’s not talking tough, she has some words of encouragement for those struggling to keep going in “Never Gone,” featuring Chrisette Michelle. Bounce, gritty, pop the melding of may styles on this CD makes it difficult to figure out who Eve is musically these days. I give her props for expanding her sound. I just wish she had picked a style and stuck with it.
UPLIFT 2 HIGHER. Alexander is talented and versatile. How versatile? I have a Tony Bennett album with the modern-day Count Basie band, and Alexander appears, performing in perfect minimalist style for the late Basie. Then there are all those great Jamaican- and Bob Marley-inspired albums, in which Alexander infuses jazz with the rhythms and melodies of his native island. (His free street appearance at the Rochester Jazz Festival on June 29 is with his Harlem-Kingston Express.) This new album is a sequel to Uplift, and both are purposefully upbeat, good-time albums. Here he works in a trio format through such wonderful material as Duke Ellington’s “I Love You Madly,” Sonny Rollins’ “St. Thomas,” “You Are My Sunshine,” and several Alexander originals. He has long been a considerable talent, and should be a major treat for Rochester festival fans.