The Entertainment Weekly review was harsh on this band, as was Rolling Stone. But not harsh enough. I actually experienced a moment of complete emotional dissonance while listening to track 3, “Ghost of Stephen Foster.”
It’s an indescribable track. It opens with some sort of flying carpet music that is most unpleasant and jarring to the listener. Then it moves into some sort of bluesy thing with a collection of the sourest sounding horns I have ever heard. The small tinny kazoo quality of the horns is carried throughout the CD, but most notably here. It is hard for me to believe that a simple sax and trumpet could make such a strained, bleating noise. The lyrics are dumb â€“ but even this could be overlooked it the rest of the song wasn’t so damn objectionable.
For me, however, the most murderous aspect of the CD was the female singer, Kathryn Walen. She tries to imitate the signature vocal style of Billie Holiday, yet in this case imitation is the worst sort of compliment. Billie was a blues Goddess who remains unrivaled (check out the Quintessential Billie Holiday). Her voice had depth and a richness that carried the heartbreak of the world. Walen’s tiny, thin, reedy voice makes a parody of Billie’s â€“ and that is something I can not forgive.
Buy this CD if you must, but I wouldn’t. Just my thoughts.