AVP - Learn to Interact

Discuss our reviews or just talk about any old album.

AVP - Learn to Interact

Postby magnolia » Thu Jul 05, 2007 5:05 am

Just read this review, dont have to much to follow up to it right now (I got this album for the For Today CD Project and listened to it once all the way through)

However, I'm amazed at the consistancy between the three reviews, and I really think they hit the nail on the head on this one.

Others thought?

Slightly Above Average - seems about right to me. (Although, I did enjoy Move Along - I guess its the emo kid in me showing through - talk about some fun tom hits)
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Postby RnBMrE » Thu Jul 05, 2007 5:51 am

Wow, what a horrible review, I was expecting at least 4.5's across the board for their review. Lets knock some sense into these RARB Reviewers.

...okay just kidding. I am surprised, though, by Kimmie's comment that Guster isn't done enough a cappella. I've heard 7 songs from Lost and Gone Forever alone, along with 6 other Guster songs done a cappella either live or recorded. Many of them are/were really good!

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Postby magnolia » Thu Jul 05, 2007 5:59 am

Very true, re: guster. Freddie just did a whole A Cappella U episode on acaTunes of Guster songs. Mentioning how every album he gets in has one...

However, I can honestly say I dont recall ever hearing a Guster song, and if I did it wasnt on purpose. (But the name is familiar for sure)
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Postby uscpossum » Thu Jul 05, 2007 7:10 am

RnBMrE wrote:I am surprised, though, by Kimmie's comment that Guster isn't done enough a cappella. I've heard 7 songs from Lost and Gone Forever alone, along with 6 other Guster songs done a cappella either live or recorded. Many of them are/were really good!


Really? Hootie hoo! Perhaps you should start a Guster thread to list all the groups who have covered them. Surely I'm not the only one interested...
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Postby billhare » Thu Jul 05, 2007 8:29 am

RnBMrE wrote:I am surprised, though, by Kimmie's comment that Guster isn't done enough a cappella.


Yeah, I was too - I've worked on maybe 20 Guster aca-covers myself, to the point where I ask each group before they record "...and what is going to be your prerequisite Guster song for this album?"

-B

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Postby jrhailey » Thu Jul 05, 2007 9:58 am

Thanks to the folks at RARB for taking the time to review this album. I have a question for Ryan Joyce regarding the following part of his review:

"More pronounced than just a bridge, the group will either cut out completely or special effect will be added to add some life to the song. And while this is customary in pop music, the mid-song shifts were especially prevalent and pronounced on this album. The first few times it's distinctive, but they quickly grow predictable — and knowing that everything interesting is behind me makes finishing the song almost seem unnecessary."

This phenomenon in a cappella performance irks me as well. You make it seem like a majority of the songs on this album skip a crucial part. Only one comes to mind right now, and that's "Working for the Weekend". I arranged the song in its entirety as an alum, and was also disappointed to find that the group omitted a potentially loud, powerful section of the song. I understand your frustrations with song truncation, but I'm trying to figure out if it applies to this album. Criticism is more constructive and helpful with supporting examples.
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Postby rjoyce » Thu Jul 05, 2007 2:19 pm

I wanted to post a quick reply to the question, but if you allow me some more time I can try to formulate a more specific answer.

I was trying to address truncation specifically with those sentences, rather my disappointment - but that may not be the right word - with the way many of the bridges in the songs on LtI sounded. That cut, change, or amplification in backing music that so many songs have as they go into a bridge or a repeated chorus is, in my mind, a real opportunity for arrangers to infuse their work with some really creative sections. While I found the AVP arrangements effective, I found the technique repetitive.
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Postby brianhaverkate » Sun Jul 15, 2007 6:45 am

I like this album a lot. Got to see these guys live here in Florida this spring and wasn't disappointed. I think the reviews were spot on. This is not a "5" album, but it is a solid "4"......a 3.7 overall? Ok. 5 years ago, this would probably be an almost 5 across the board review, but things have been evolving and there's been a "catching up" period with a lot of other groups. The album probably could have gained higher scored if gleaned to a neat and trim 8-10 tracks instead of 13, but I enjoyed the diversity of music and quite frankly, the diversity in quality throughout the album.

I know exactly what Ryan Joyce was talking about with the bridge cut/special effects addition to spice up the track.

I'm interested to see if everyone else thinks the same, but recent recording trends seem to be a result of the way in which albums have been reviewed in the past 5-10 years. Here are my observations: 1) Collegiate groups used to reference other songs in the backgrounds, or take the bridge and turn it into another song altogether before returning to the final push of the song, 2) Recently bridges have been disappearing altogether from recordings (possibly to avoid the scathing reviews of "guitar solo" renditions which seem to rarely garner acclaim), and 3) Syllables have also been critiqued to where "dah and dohs" don't hold a candle to "jins and johs".

Is RARB shaping the way albums are being recorded? Could be good, could be bad. I'm not sure. Just something I've noticed. I've missed hearing references to other songs in arrangements and also the creativity (or challenge) that a bridge brings to an arranger and ultimately what they do with it (delete it or otherwise). Are we evolving, or are we limiting by praise of certain techniques over others? I've noticed in my own arranging a stagnation of technique. Where "ahhs and ooohs" turned into "dins and duns" and then to "jins and jahs", as an arranger I'd like to use them all but always double-check in my head.........ok, what is going to be accepted or praised here?

Sorry to divert attention from AVPs album (which is really good).
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Postby streetnix04 » Mon Jul 16, 2007 8:18 pm

There have been a ton of Guster songs done in college a cappella. You just don't hear many of them out here in SoCal (mostly in the northeast and midwest). Plus, most of the ones I've heard or seen are from Guster's first three albums: Parachute, Goldfly, and Lost and Gone Forever, all which were released in the 90s (back when I was in college), which seems oh so long ago these days. And most of those covers were performed or recorded in the late 90s and early 2000s. Not so many anymore, but that could be because Guster's two most recent albums were not nearly as good as the first three; but that topic is for a much different post on a different forum. :-)

Additionally, wasn't NYU Mass Transit's version of "Mona Lisa" on one of the BOCA albums?
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Postby RnBMrE » Tue Jul 17, 2007 7:37 am

NomadVP wrote:Plus, most of the ones I've heard or seen are from Guster's first three albums: Parachute, Goldfly, and Lost and Gone Forever, all which were released in the 90s (back when I was in college), which seems oh so long ago these days. And most of those covers were performed or recorded in the late 90s and early 2000s.


Sing 2 features the Elon Sweet Signatures' version of "Amsterdam". It's pretty awesome. Several other groups have recorded this song, as well. The Duke Pitchforks just recorded a solid version of "Parachute" on their newest cd. And the Bubs do an incredible version of "Ruby Falls" on their newest one. UNCG Sapphires have "Either Way" on their new cd. That's four different Guster albums right there haha. Hence, I think that Guster recordings are still being churned out with relative fecundity (as much as, say, Ben Folds haha).

NomadVP wrote:Not so many anymore, but that could be because Guster's two most recent albums were not nearly as good as the first three; but that topic is for a much different post on a different forum. :-)


Oh, but in bringing it up, you just made it fair game haha. I actually really like the newest Guster album, "Ganging Up on the Sun". Many of the songs continue to grow on me, and I think quite a few are or could be translatable/accessible for a cappella performance. "Keep It Together" wasn't as strong an album, I agree, but I think it also suffered in our community from having songs that wouldn't translate well.

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Postby mrmiller » Tue Jul 17, 2007 7:49 am

I agree--Ganging Up on the Sun, while not as accessibly catchy as Lost and Gone Forever, is by far their best album to date, by my estimation. The cohesiveness, the production, the flow. They are definitely subverting their catchiness on purpose, and I think that actually leads to a better product in the end. We know they can write an album worth of overly catchy tunes as on Lost and Gone Forever, but the flow and feel of the album wasn't as good. The production (by the band itself) on Ganging is awesome; I love the lush, warm sound they get. It's one of those albums that is annoying at first because there isn't a single standout, but the more you listen to it, the happier and happier you are with it.

By the way, Chicago on the AVP album is pretty sick. Just getting us back on topic. There's some wrong chords (no, not creative choices, just wrong ;)) on some tracks, but that tends to be the case with most albums. While we're on Guster, there's some wrong chords in the Bubs' "Ruby Falls"--happens to the best of 'em. Vaguely back on topic now.
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Postby dherriges » Tue Jul 17, 2007 1:01 pm

Hoo boy, since the Guster topic came up and they're one of my favorite bands:

Ganging Up on the Sun doesn't do it for me at all. The songwriting has gotten a lot stronger on the whole, but I feel like they've sacrificed a lot of what made them a distinctive band and got people's attention in the first place. It just doesn't sound unmistakably like Guster anymore; it sounds like generic mainstream rock. They used to do a lot of genuine duets (Parachute, Happier, etc.); now Ryan sings almost every song and Adam adds occasional harmonies which get buried in the mix. I listen to Guster for the vocal harmonies above all else; if you take away that, there are dozens of pop rock bands with better tunes and better lyrics. It all smacks to me of some producer pushing them toward a safer, more radio-friendly sound. There are some really good songs in there, but I can't help feeling I'd like a few of them (Dear Valentine comes to mind) a lot better with more raw production; the slick corporate gloss makes the songs sound more forgettable than they really should be.

Of course, all of the above comments have one glorious exception in my opinion: "Empire State" may well be the best song the band has ever done. To me, they captured a very specific feeling of depression / discontent almost perfectly. It's just so striking, and so startling in the context of the rest of the album.

And... yeah... so how 'bout that a cappella stuff? Yeah, it's pretty cool, huh?
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Postby mrmiller » Tue Jul 17, 2007 1:15 pm

Having seen them live about a month ago in Boston in front of a crowd of at least 10,000, the songs aren't just production gloss--they sound like that live. And I still don't think they sound like any mainstream rock band I can think of.
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Postby brianhaverkate » Wed Jul 18, 2007 1:17 pm

Since this thread seems intent on keeping to Guster....... :) Don't forget the fact that their drummer Brian was told to quit playing the drum set with his hands, which gave them most of their unique sound.
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Postby mrmiller » Wed Jul 18, 2007 2:01 pm

He still plays the kit with his hands live, as of a month ago. I'd assume he also still does it in the studio.
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