Alternative music reviews

The Sharp Things

Foxes & Hounds Jul 2005

I had my doubts when I heard the first Sharp Things CD. It took time but eventually won me over to the Bowie-esque lyrics and the lush feel of all the orchestration. There was something 'real' (but still romantic) about the lyrics. Now I have their second CD and I find myself disillusioned. In the UK we would class much of the music as 'Radio 2' - adult=oriented and a bit bland. In fact, it's still very intelligent lyrically and musically but just sounds too comfortable. It's all become a bit too close to Peter Skellern (70s piano + orchestration).

But it all gets going towards the end. 50 Heads Over High Street is probably the best track I've heard them do. These Dreams Of You Are So Much Sweeter Than You is pretty good too. I can't deny I'm disappointed but they have done just enough to keep me interested in their future output.

 
Here Comes The Sharp Things Oct 2003

The obvious musical comparison for The Sharp Things is Aladdin Sane/Diamond Dogs period David Bowie particularly the vocals. The lyrical concerns are not the theatrical/futuristic ones that The Changeling displays but much more rooted in real life. At the same time there's plenty of flowery language and orchestration. "The great chefs of China slip their menu neath my door" on the song Vacationing is a wonderful description of receiving those menus from the local Chinese takeaway.

Musically, they are generally piano-based mid-tempo songs with guitar, violin, cello and wind instruments. These are carefully constructed arrangements with the instruments played beautifully, always with an appreciation of leaving space for the other players (I think there's some classical training behind this). The main man appears to be Perry Serpa the songwriter, pianist, and vocalist but there's a long list of band members and contributing musicians who all add to the mix.

Often hopelessly romantic like on the song It Took Forever To Get Home Tonight, this is music for quiet, relaxed moods. Ive got this funny idea that someone is going to tell me that this Sharp Thing album is retro, but then I'll just have to say "well, I like it". It's a bit old-fashioned, a bit Torch and more than a little bit classic, in the sense that some 70's music is timeless.


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