Monday, December 11, 2006

Sing-Sing--Sing-Sing and I (2005)

Album-Sing-Sing and I
Release Date-Jul 11, 2005
Genre/Style-Indie Pop

Personal Rating- Rare and Recommended!

Biography-Indie pop group Sing-Sing formed after former Lush guitarist/vocalist Emma Anderson met vocalist Lisa O'Neill in mid-1997. Roughly eight months later, the duo recorded a four-song demo with Elastica's Justin Welch playing drums. Two months after that, another demo was recorded with the help of producer Mark Van Hoen, who O'Neill had worked with previously in Locust. Ex-Cocteau Twins Simon Raymonde and Robin Guthrie heard it and eventually released the Feels Like Summer single on their label, Bella Union, in October of 1998. Around this time, the duo started playing out; they added drummer Mig (Moose, Moonshake), bassist Shifty, and keyboardist Poppy Gonzalez (Mojave 3). A split single with Linoleum was issued on Fierce Panda in early 1999 and wasn't followed with anything until well into the following year. The group released the I'll Be and Feels Like Summer (featuring a re-recording) singles on Aerial, their own imprint. In 2001, Anderson and O'Neill struck a temporary licensing deal with Alan McGee's Poptones label; their full-length debut, The Joy of Sing-Sing, was issued that fall. Appearances at SXSW and CMJ and two North American tours coincided the release. Two years later, Anderson and O'Neill began working on a follow-up effort, however funds were fleeting. The Madame EP (2004), recorded on the band's own dime, was made available for order only through Sing-Sing's official website ( to raise money for a proper second album. Within a month, Sing-Sing earned enough to resume recording. Sing-Sing and I followed in summer 2005.

Review-As if Lisa O'Neill and Emma Anderson hadn't already endured enough, Sing-Sing's second album, Sing-Sing and I, almost didn't happen. They went through a list of labels with the release of their first few singles and their 2001 full-length, The Joy of Sing-Sing. When it came time to record a follow-up, Sing-Sing was once again without a label and without the cash flow. Thankfully, fans rallied around the making of the duo's self-released EP, Madame, in 2003. Donations made through the band's website were aplenty, so much so that Sing-Sing were able to complete Madame and set up shop for a second studio effort. Sing-Sing and I is the stylish result of such a painstaking period, and the band's first proper release for its own Aerial imprint. It's much more stripped-down and loose compared to the glossy polish of The Joy of Sing-Sing. Anderson and O'Neill's girlish pop harmonies are as dreamy and lovely as ever, especially on the Alan Moulder-mixed tracks "Ruby" and "A Modern Girl." By now, it should be obvious that the talent behind Sing-Sing is their mirrored vocals, which are so clear and so charming. Anderson and O'Neill are not particularly adventurous as musicians; however, their kind of indie pop doesn't have to be so daring in order to be considered good. Sing-Sing and I is a bit more experimental than the last record, in the way that these individual songs do not need to coexist as a set. Each song is uniquely designed without coming off as rehashed, and songs such as the quasi-vaudevillian "I Do" and theatrical march of "The Time Has Come" are fine examples of this. The more posh numbers like "Lover" and "Going Out Tonight" also capture the freshness of Sing-Sing's work found here. If you're looking for a place to daydream, cozy up to Sing-Sing and I. It'll be a grand time.


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