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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Wendy & Lisa’s “Snapshots” Provides A Beautiful Picture Into Their Musical Past




Wendy & Lisa have a new EP called “Snapshots”. The EP is a compilation of music that they have created during the past 15-20 years, but was never released for one reason or another.   The music provides an intimate view into Wendy & Lisa’s musical creativity when it is unbounded by big record company limitations, worries of music sales, and expectations of others.  Snapshots provides a little something for everybody; the rockers, the dancers, and the mellow.

Perfect Stranger
The first track proves that Wendy & Lisa can make a hit in any genre that they can desire; from the gospel “I Think It Was December”, to the funky “Are You My Baby”, to this rock-infused “Perfect Stranger”.  As the liner notes explain, this song was written to be the theme song for the 90s television show “Snoops”. Although a Blondie song beat the ladies out for the title theme, “Perfect Stranger” as well as Wendy Melvoin did actually make it onto the show (see the 10-minute mark in Snoops Part 1 for Wendy performing Perfect Stranger and watch Snoops Part 2 for the second half of the program). The song is fun, reminiscent of 80s punk rock, and has the near-risqué lyrics to go with it: “I’m reaching in inside of you, you can feel it, I’m gonna make it hotter and hotter” (although the last lyrics could be “harder and harder”). However, the punk-rock, guitar infused Perfect Stranger proves that Wendy & Lisa can master any sound that they set their minds to.

Time
The EP then completely changes course and presents us with the dreamy, funky, instrumental “Time”.  The song begins with a rush of upbeat strings and keyboards but unexpectedly turns to a funky guitar riff. The song continues to alternate between the dreamlike strings/keyboards and funky guitar riff to give you the best of both musical worlds in the same song.

Water To The Wave
The EP then moves on to one of my new all-time, favorite Wendy & Lisa songs, “Water To The Wave” (WTTW) with lyrics written by Lisa Coleman.  It is a shame that the song never made it onto the Soul Food soundtrack (as told in the liner notes) so that we could have enjoyed this incredibly beautiful song much sooner. Part love-song, part romantic lullaby, WTTW takes the listener on an auditory journey through the elements: “I would trade the stars for you, paint the sunrise on the moon, romanced by your every move, I’m like water to the wave” and “Like the waves that move the sea, it’s your love that carries me.” Lisa’s beautiful piano playing along with Wendy’s equally beautiful vocals carries the listener on a wonderful voyage through love and tranquility. As beautiful as the first 3:12 is, however, the last minute-and-a-half is exceptional. A drum machine coupled with Lisa’s ethereal playing definitely changes the song into an experimental sound that I would find hard to believe anyone saw coming. Like “Time”, it’s a song built upon another song except, this time, a surreal almost funky groove replaces the lullaby love song. From the first time hearing this song, it instantly became one of my Wendy & Lisa favorites.

Rosalyn
Rosalyn switches the tempo of the EP once again and we return to an upbeat dance groove. The track features funky guitar riffs that are a signature of Wendy’s playing. The song almost sounds as if it could have been the title theme for some cool action drama. According to the liner notes, the song was purposely put together using a wide range of sounds. The result is a groovy, electro-ish dance groove. Mix plenty of percussion, a hip guitar riff on top of a rock guitar melody, along with a myriad of different cool keyboard sounds, and you have “Rosalyn”. This song is sure to get some part of your body moving.

Rock Song
The next musical snapshot comes in the form of a rock song appropriately titled “Rock Song”. One of the amazing gifts of Wendy & Lisa is to make you feel comfortable with a song and, when you least expect it, completely switch it up to something different. This ability is truly one of their hallmarks and is evident on “Rock Song”. The song begins with some light, mellow keyboarding played by Lisa. Then, just when you think you’ve got a feel for the song, Wendy enters with an awesome heavy guitar riff. As you are rocking along with her, before you know it, the song switches back to its mellow side. Back and forth, the song alternates: mellow, rock, mellow, rock, always keeping your ears on its toes wondering what you will hear next. Wend & Lisa’s ability to not only appeal to your auditory senses but to also keep you intellectually invested in their music, by completely changing the song’s sounds, melodies, and tempo, is a testament to their talent and adeptness as skilled musicians.

Lemon Chiffon
Like “Water To The Wave”, “Lemon Chiffon” quickly became one of my favorite Wendy & Lisa tracks. Co-written with Chris Bruce, around the time of Girl Bros, “Lemon Chiffon” reminds me of the kind of song that I would love to hear while taking a stroll on a beautiful beach with a full sunset in the background or a walk on a relaxing rainy Spring day. It is slow, soft, and serene with no surprises. The mellow melody is achieved through minimalist drumming, acoustic guitar, and keyboarding that makes sure not to dominate the song. Towards the end of this beautiful song, however, the organ-sounding keyboards play a more prominent role sounding heavenly and celestial. “Lemon Chiffon” with its calming beauty is a perfect way to end this EP. If you are ever stressed or angry, play this song! I can’t imagine that you will be the same person afterwards. This is definitely the kind of beautiful music that can soothe even the most savage of beasts. “Lemon Chiffon” is truly beauty in its auditive form.

Snapshots gives us a beautiful picture of the musical imagination of Wendy & Lisa. They state that it is their most personal album thus far. We are lucky that they decided to share these wonderful musical masterpieces instead of keeping them locked in a vault in some un-disclosed location.

As with their last album, White Flags of Winter Chimneys, this EP is a completely ‘do it yourself’ venture. Wendy & Lisa (along with their great manager) is responsible for producing, releasing, and distributing Snapshots. In addition to the great music, the EP will be released with other great products. According to their website (Wendy & Lisa Official Website), the EP will be released along with limited canvas prints and a hard-cover book. As with their last album, I am sure that there will be autographed copies available along with several cool bundles for us to choose from.

So, if you are a Wendy & Lisa fan or just a fan of well-made alternative music, make SURE to get yourself a copy of Snapshots! It truly presents a beautiful picture of Wendy & Lisa’s amazing musical talent!

4 comments:

luluphooey said...

another great review mikki..bring it on !

Kemi_VA said...

Nice review. I'm particularly partial to Track# 2 "Time". Sucker for a funky instrumental, I guess.

Good job with your website, too.

Take care...

Shashinbeauty said...

I bought this new album and I could not stop listening to it again and again. It's like tracks taken from a vault, a trip to their past. I love it and I just wish Wendy and Lisa would reissue all their albums with stories for all the tracks...

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