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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Cookie Rabinowitz

Four Eyed Soul

Review by Gary Hill

I like this album a lot. It has a cool sound that sort of lands in the modern alternative pop style, but with a lot of classic soul and R&B. At times it calls to mind Prince. Other parts of it lean in different directions. Every song here is cool. It should be mentioned that several tracks earn parental advisories. Beyond that, it’s highly recommended to anyone who likes funky music.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2013  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Sing Alone, Sing Along

I love the killer groove on this. It’s got a classic sound, yet it’s really modern. The vocal arrangement works really well. This feels familiar, yet fresh. It’s sort of like a cross between Prince and Parliament with a more modern edge to it.

Crakka Smile
The early sections of this focus a lot more on the modern sounds. It really feels a lot like Prince in those early sections. There is a lush and powerful arrangement later that has such a classic 1970s soul sound to it, though. I can make out some hints of Lenny Kravitz at times on this. As good as that opener was, this is even better. I love it.
Every St.

This one is purely modern in arrangement and delivery. That said, the vocal performance is again classic. The tune is a bit quirky, but quite entertaining. While it’s modern in sound, it never falls into the traps like auto-tuned vocals that are destined to sound dated in a short time.

Life on Mars
Even more quirky than the previous one there are weird bits of electronic sound dancing over the top of the arrangement. The thing is, though, the song is a pretty traditional thing. It’s got a catchy hook and some great grooves. Those electronic trappings serve more as icing on the cake than any real substantial thing here. This is one of my favorites of the set.
Pass You By
This is so funky. It’s got a modern vibe to it, but that funk is just classic.
Text You With My Mouth
A rhythmically focused piece, this is definitely another that makes me think of Prince. The sound is classic and yet the arrangement has a lot of modern elements to it. It’s another classy piece on a disc that’s full of them. This gets quite involved and the arrangement gets a lot of layers as it continues.
Get Yer Own
There are a lot of electronic blips and bleeps in the arrangement to this. Still, the funk manages to make it to the table, too.  Although this is not one of my favorites, it has its charms.
Blue
I’m amazed at how something so modern and electronic can feel so organic and classic. There is a great groove to this and although in some ways it feels a bit cold and sterile, it’s also got a certain vitality to it. It’s one of the more intriguing and effective cuts here.
Underground
Although the main groove is pretty electronic and modern, the guitar sound lends some really classic feelings to the piece.
Self Loathing
In some ways this arrangement is a bit stripped down. Still, the guitar brings more of a rock vibe and layers of keyboard sound add some drama and magic. This is one of the most accessible pieces here somehow. It’s one of my favorites, too. It seems to merge an alternative rock and pop vibe with jazz and more modern R&B. It’s a real winner.
Rock & Roll Karaoke
The groove is the king on this one. I like the tune, but it’s perhaps not as interesting as some of the other stuff here.
More Tired Than Lonely
Rather understated, there is almost a space rock vibe to this. It’s got a bluesy basis, though and is sort a modern alternative treatment on a bluesy rocker.
Talking To Pigeons
The sound on this is modern, but it’s based in old school soulful music. There is a real classic sound here. It’s got more of that Prince vibe to some degree. Whatever you call it, though, this is a great song and a cool way to end the set.
 
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