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    The Wondermints

    Bali( 1998 )
    Arnaldo Said / Sting O Luv / In And Around Greg Lake / My ID/entity / Telemetry / Chris-Craft No 10 / Cellophane / Dreamachine / Spoke Of A Wheel Whirled / Hypnolove / Puppet Grrls R Go / Wanderlust / Bali

    Now famous for being Brian Wilsons live backing band The Wondermints have released a few albums in their right of which this is one! Well, it would be, wouldn't it! What a stupid thing to say. I must admit right now, I bought this because of the Brian Wilson association. What I got was an album of accomplished power pop. We have keyboards galore, guitar and bass. Drums in there somewhere I guess. The vocals are disappointing. In terms of lead vocals they lack anything much of a distinguishing characteristic. 'Arnaldo Said' is very ordinary. Second song 'Sting O Luv' is much better though. Harmonies! The harmonies work a lot better than the sole lead vocal displayed on the opening song. 'In And Around Greg Lake' displays a Brian Wilson influence in its opening keyboard sound and proves itself to be a fine pop song, with bells, percussion. The middle section is great with little harmony parts where the music drops out. A fine song!

    We have the sit though 'My ID/entity' and 'Telemetry' before we reach another decent song. There is much filler here and material that just doesn't do anything unusual or even particularly well from a song-writing point of view. The production mixes everything together and the instrumentation lacks clarity. Which is odd really, because you can tell that underneath the production these guys can play pretty well. 'Chris Craft' is a fun song, nothing serious but when it starts to sound like Queen it raises a smile for me. 'Cellophane' and 'Dreamachine' both contain interesting instrumentation and 'Hypnolove' features Carol Kaye on bass! Its a fine moment! OK, so they don't sound anything like The Beach Boys. They don't - to be fair - so coming into this from the perspective of being a Beach Boys fan will lead you to disappointment. This is by no means the best they can do. I do get that feeling. They have a bunch of ideas instrumentally. The best songs here are perfectly fine the lesser songs never exactly bad just not anything that stands out. 'Puppet Grrls R Go' is one of the better songs here and comes across as a rather sunny and accomplished pop song.

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    Readers Comments

    Jeff Creech JeffreyBCreech@webtv.net
    Symetrically, the Lead Vocals in many Wondermints recordings aren't supposed to be sang or mixed in a manner that would would upstage the arangement or the song idea itself i.e; the latter in keeping with the concept of the lead vocal complementing the instumentation and background vocals as opposed to drawing attention away from the former. This is particularly important where artists have a fairly precise idea of the musical and vocal arrangements as the song is conceived. The Jellyfish demos (see Japanese New Mistake or brand new four CD box set) -a band that wrote some music with Brian Wilson during their mutual involvement with Ringo Starr's "Time Takes Time" sessions; as an excellent example of the melody's role in the final listener experience. Buy all of their albums (as well as the brand new one w/ Brian at your local Best Buy for $11.99) and check this artist out again.


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    this page last updated 18/05/07


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