Hear The Track HereAnother new name this month, this time from Soundclick, is Vancouver (WA not Canada) based 180out and no, I have no idea what the bandname means so don't ask. 180out is a duo, the very lovely Elizabeth Harrington Smith (who has an even yummier guitar, and that just about tell you where my head is really at) and Brady Booth and they make (gulp) Adult Contemporary. What is it about certain genres that always raise my hackles on sight? It's not fair because there are some (albeit very few) adult contemporary musicians I do like, and I even manage to like the odd show tune or two. But there is something about those words 'adult contemporary' and 'Middle of the road' (which was its antecedent) that always but always sends a chill down my spine. Tell you what, right around now, Beth and Brady are probably wondering wtf they have let themselves in for so let's press on....
I'm on record for loving female vocalists (not biblically of course). There is something about a female voice that does it for me, and the very best of those voices can often be found in this much abused genre, Certainly most of the really great female vocalists I have come across have come from here or (a slightly lesser evil) from singing ballads. So, prerequisite for me is a convincing voice and if the track doesn't stray into said ballad territory, we can probably avoid bloodshed. Well, the good news is that it is this close (holds finger and thumb microns apart) and that's just enough. In other words, Indican Girl (Asha Veda), isn't anything like as bad as some I've heard, and definitely shows Beth can sing and play. And therein lies a problem. As a musician myself, I know how you can get carried away in the sheer RUSH of the thing (Ed: making music, he means) but I have also learned over the years about another skill necessary to hone our art. I call it reach, the music that you can reach without showing any signs of strain.
Simplicity, as always, is the key and less is always more. I really liked the sentiment of the song (it's about Asha and Veda, half Indian, half American) and, in some ways, the song itself although - hand on heart - it isn't my kind of thing. I also liked the way the vocals are arranged and performed although - to my ears - it was all a bit too excitable, but that comes with time. For a home recording this is definitely good enough, as indeed is the song itself but, I'm afraid, it won't turn heads. Where it falls down most is in the backing itself which seems to plod along, aided and abetted by a string note that just dragged down the whole song. I think 180out have the nous, and maybe even the song(s) but where this song is lacking most is in tightness (both of playing and production) and in context and texture (some people call it light and shade or drama and emotion). It's a tall order for sure but hey, what's a life without a challenge :)
Recommended for the sheer cuteness of it all nonetheless.