MP3 Cosigner - Let´s Fast Dance
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14 MP3 Songs
POP: 60's Pop, ROCK: Emo
'Let's Fast Dance' a reflection of band's prowess
by Troy Gregorino
Thursday, April 29, 2004
When your band can boast of an outstanding songwriter, a more than capable supporting cast (which includes arguably the area's best all-around lead guitarist), two seasoned sound engineers and, oh yeah, ownership of Athens' ridiculously equipped, state-of-the-art 3 Elliott Studio, you're likely to face rather high expectations for the release of your long-awaited debut album.
A listen to "Let's Fast Dance" reveals that Cosigner isn't about the hype. Rather, Josh Antonuccio, Angie Pyle, Chris Pyle and Stephen Tootle win the hearts of listeners with their uncompromisingly honest song-crafting, irresistible melodies, and a quirky bittersweetness all their own.
At times straddling (or inventing) a line between '60s surf rock and angular, markedly modern fare, Cosigner successfully blends hard-to-find artistic combinations into their work.
Pleasantly weird without aloofness, catchy without corniness, and sensitive without sappiness, "Let's Fast Dance" is a remarkably refreshing display of a band unafraid of carving its own niche.
Cosigner's adeptness at meshing brightness with dissonance is epitomized in the album's aptly chosen lead-off track, "You Can't Keep."
Similarly, "Cricket" manages moody seriousness without abandoning Cosigner's trademark, melodic lightness. However, several of such wide-open, slow-drifting songs would have benefited from prominent vocal harmonies.
While Tootle is convincing and effective with his less-than-emphatic singing style, it would be intriguing to hear him go a little crazy on a few tracks.
At its best, though, "Let's Fast Dance" offers some truly dynamic combinations of Tootle's solitary, subdued vocals with the band's unpredictably temperamental, occasionally raucous, accompaniment.
Major highlights include "Soft Drowsy Song," a stellar track that deserves a better title, "Oil Slicks," and "Lift Me (Or I'll Surely Run)." Also gripping is the album's tender closing track, "Ohio."
Among the best albums to come out of Athens in a long time, "Let's Fast Dance" is an intricate recording that weaves meticulous arrangements, smart song writing, and downright brilliant melodies.
Content © 2004 Athens Insider, Athens, Ohio.
The Post (Athens)
Variety of instruments creates Cosigner's sound
by Megan Chew
With a blend of pop-rock elements and a laidback indie style, Cosigner's "Let's Fast Dance" is carefully crafted to sound effortless.
Recorded at local 3 Elliot Studio, "Let's Fast Dance" spans fourteen tracks with a general cohesive sound, save the last track, "Ohio." This song is a noticeable diversion, with a reliance on a strong acoustic guitar part and lead singer Stephen Tootle's voice straining outside its range on the simple, lovely lyrics.
The other songs on the CD use a driving sound of tempo-setting bass and drums by Chris and Angie Pyle, consistently understated vocals and the dominating melodic sounds of Josh Antonuccio's electric guitar.
Tootle's lyrics analyze relationships with minimalist poetry, complemented by his lack of vocal dramatics. His more complex songs are accompanied by appropriate musical variation, though at times the guitar takes precedence for large portions of songs.
The album includes a variety of instrumentation outside of the four-piece rock band standards of bass, guitar and drums. "Cricket," the third track on the album, combines organ, piano and simple backing vocals for a quirky pop sound. Organ parts and handclaps are included in various songs on the album and serve to lighten up the artier lyrical style.
The use of many guitar solos provides a defining style point and definitive conclusions to some of the songs. Track five, "Would I Miss You?" is an example of the careful mix of music and lyrics on the album. The guitar works well to divert to the questioning chorus, then takes over for a solo that ends in fading feedback.
At times the tracks rely on a large amount of repetition, and a welcomed addition would be more personal references, such as those included in "Lift Me (or I'll Surely Run)" and "Oil Slicks."
"Let's Fast Dance's" generally relaxed sound is reminiscent of both Appalachia and Tootle's home of California; Cosigner's music sounds like the instrumental version of a long, slow, hot day.
Cosigner: Get it while you can
By Dan Dreifort
Athens NEWS Contributor
Production-perfect and with one distinct exception, performance-smart, ³Let¹s Fast Dance,² the new CD from Athens band Cosigner, meticulously hops, skips and skulks along the route to fine mid-fi alt-pop.
Singer/songwriter Steve Tootle liberates exceptional moody songs from his psyche and is responsible for most of the solid acoustic and rhythm guitar work. There¹s no doubt he¹s done this before.
Often inconspicuous in the mix, but with a knack for delivering the most apt musical glue, Chris and Angie Pyle admirably cover Cosigner rhythm-section duties. Think Paul and Ringo and you¹re almost there. But it¹s guitarist Josh Antonuccio¹s lead lines that sparkle above all else on ³Let¹s Fast Dance² Â not because they¹re high in the mix on most tracks, but because he¹s that clever.
Some of the more plodding songs, and there are several, would emerge bewilderingly boring without Antonuccio¹s tricks. His simplistic yet haunting guitar work on the opening track, ³You Can¹t Keep,² grows to rasping death throes by the end of an otherwise poky song. Then we hear the first of several intentional production ³hiccups,² and the next song opens.
Far from hackneyed gimmicks or attempts at contrived verve, these frequent quirky interludes give the album a personality apart from its 12 songs. When somebody laughs, brushes up against a microphone or scuffles a keyboard between tracks, you sense you¹re in 3 Elliot Street Studio with the band. That¹s a neat trick, but you might need headphones to fully appreciate the effect.
Up- and mid-tempo songs like ³Eve² and the somewhat ironically named, tremolo-laden ³Soft Drowsy Song² shine above others, perhaps because the uneasy trickle of Tootle¹s hesitant voice is less marked if not masked by the spirited energy.
Cosigner devotees usually retort with, ³But I like his voice!² when subjected to remarks about Steve Tootle¹s pained vocalizations.
Truth be known, I like his voice too. A lot. It¹s an asset to the music scene and the band, but he doesn¹t even try to take advantage of it. It¹s difficult to believe his misgivings and yarns when he refuses to emote.
Tootle¹s near-drone, bordering-on-speech singing voice isn¹t beyond compare; the likes of Bob Dylan, Lou Reed, John McCrea from Cake and Stephen Malkmus of Pavement all essentially employ the manner, but they periodically, if not frequently, toss more than a little enthusiasm into their delivery.
Rich with catchy and overtly likable songs, fantastic layered guitars, and even better production, ³Let¹s Fast Dance² is one of the most accessible and professional releases birthed from southeast Ohio in years.
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