Thanks to all of the reviewers for the great comments. I do need to take my friend Tom to task though, NOT because his scores were lower, but to correct a few factual errors.
Tom opens his review saying it's the Mendicants' fourth album. Where does this info come from? I think this is the 10th album that I'VE done for them, and they were already together for 25 years when I started with them in 1988. So there have been at least 30 albums since the first in 1964 or '65. I also feel that the Mendicants were partly responsible for the evolution of Collegiate A Cappella as we know it today. Independently of what was happening on the other coast, I think the 1991 "Just Like That" album was the first to use all individual mics, be produced in a "rock band" recording format, and even using some VP, which was almost unheard of in those days. Two other albums from the East Coast claim to be the first in 1991, but I think "JTL" came out a month or so earlier. Here I probably need to check my OWN facts, but I think I have it straight!
I'm always glad to be a reference for fact checking - I definitely don't want to bias a review, but if the facts aren't right the rest of the review loses a bit of credibility. Feel free (any reviewer) to email me (bill at dyz.com) if you need any factual information on any album you see my name on before you commit it to print. I don't care if you're trashing the album as much as whether your facts have basis.
As far as "taking your suggestions from the last review", this is not why the album sounds like it does. It's just a different group of singers, with a different focus on performance, different set of internal politics (a MAJOR factor on any collegiate album - get rid of the 16 different opinions and put one person in charge, and the album will not only be better, it will be cheaper!) Your comment from the last review also could have used some fact checking (from review # 354):
"This is a prime example of why you need adequate planning and budgeting when cutting a studio CD; whether the group ran out of time, or money, the difference in quality between the beginning and end of the album is disheartening."
As anyone who has made an album knows, you don't record the songs in the same order that they go on the album. In fact, most of the first half of the album was the last stuff to be recorded - so running out of time and/or money was not a factor. While this *may* have been a factor of the group "gaining their recording legs" over time, it probably only boils down to a happenstance that you didn't particularly like the second half of the album. The other reviewers didn't have the same perception, which of course doesn't mean that you are wrong and they are right, but making a blanket guess as to why this is happening is not the best way to go about writing a caveat for the community on how to plan albums.
Again, this is not to pick on Tom directly - this is for all reviewers. Tom is actually one of the more *realistic* scorers as far as numbers go in my mind. There are so many "3" albums out there gaining "4+" scores, and I appreciate and applaud his stinginess with the higher marks.
Lastly, singling out one singer as "atrocious" can be hurtful - on any given track on any album, what you might not know is that one singer put EVERYTHING he or she had into it, and took it very, very seriously. Professionals who have made it already can take this stuff (well, to more of a degree), but a collegiate singer may never open their mouth again, even if they have talent. In this particular example, there are 2 different soloists on that track, so luckily we'll never know which one you are talking about, but I think you can use a different word - I doubt many would use such a strong descriptor if they actually heard it. It is a little syrupy and choirboy sweet, but that's how it was intended - "atrocious"? I've heard much worse on much higher rated albums!
OK, 'nuff said from this end...
Bill Hare Some dude who records and mixes people who can't play instruments.