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  Listen Up! 4/10/02 Listen Up!

Wednesday, Apr. 10

The Anniversary, "Your Majesty," Vagrant Records. This has become an in-store play favorite downstairs of late, and it's really growing on me. These guys have a bunch of songs with insidious hooks, catchiness hidden within complex structures and chord changes. The guy who sings lead has a bit of a monotonous voice, but it's leavened with some very sweet harmonies from the woman keyboard player. I've been told these guys used to be a by-the-books emo band, but they barely have any of that left. Some of the guitar sound is there, though the keyboards cut through that thickness, and some of the rhythmic approach, and the use of dynamics. But the Anniversary have a wider breadth of musical ambition, and this could be the start of something quite interesting. In the meantime, "Your Majesty" has plenty of pleasures to offer with each listen.

Patti Austin, "For Ella," Playboy Jazz. Who knew she could sing jazz? It's not like she sings it spectacularly well, but it's nice to hear her aiming for this sort of thing. I wish the arrangements were more interesting, because then her obvious chops could have been challenged a bit to make something happen. Still, there are worse examples of pop singers paying tribute to jazz.

--Steve Pick



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