The Bellevue Cadillac
Prozac Nation (self-released)
By: Alex Steininger
Hailing from Boston, this swing/soul band mixes the best of both worlds and creates songs that are fun and full of substance. When they want to they can easily show their sense-of-humor in full-force, but they can also show the love and write very smooth ballads. Whatever style they're tackling, sliding over the musical form that best fits the mold, on their second full-length CD they do it with ease.
"Call Of The Wild" starts off with some slick horns and smoky keys, not to mention deep, rhythmic drums, before the whole band jumps into a punchy number sure to get your mojo swingin'. Then the vocals come in and the song takes on yet another form. A toe tappin', body swingin' jazz-swing number that will surely land a big, wet kiss on your lips and get you dancing with it, if you try and fight it it will only come on stronger. The vocals are rich and full of passion, perfectly complimented by the amazing guitar work, lively horns, and stunning rhythm section that will dizzy you with excitement. Then enters the sugar trial of the piano, topping off the song like whipped cream on a fresh baked pie. Moving on to "Cuppa Joe," the band lets their humor fly. A relaxing lounge number, fans of the coffee scene will find many hours of pleasure by sitting back and drinking a few latte's to this song. The vocals are laid back and very relaxing, as is the rest of the band. The percussion lightly taps in the background, giving the song a bit of an edge, while the piano, bass, and guitar calmly mix their notes together to make the composition what it is. Ending in typical lounge fashion, the song fades out with some deep vocals piping, "Oh give me my cuppa joe!" at the end. "Prozac" gives the feet another workout, as the piano, horns, and vocals lead you through a solid swing gem, one of the highlights on this album. When the chorus hits, and the fingers start snapping, you'll cut loose and really start to enjoy the music. "Relax, you're the Prozac generation...so relax, and take you're medication," is sweetly sang in such an enticing tone that you can't help but fall in love with the band. The rhythm section is always solid, with the bass churning out danceable lines and the drums keeping your feet tappin', so you aren't likely to find a weak spot whenever their hearts and souls are working overtime for your entertainment. Jitter Bug and Lindy Hop along with the up beat vigor of "Pay Pay Pay." Strong horn lines carry this number, spitting out both melodic and punchy notes, while the white gold known as the piano jumps throughout the song, tingling your body from head to toe. The vocals are always a strong point, with the main vocals deep and bold, while the backing vocals help add slickness and a nice compliment to the lead ones. Reaching deeper into their musical presentation than swing, "Stay" serves up their soul side. A big fan of soul and swing, it is nice to hear a band do both so well. Their lead vocalist has a perfect voice for soul, and when adapted to the swing format adds a boldness that is hard to match. The drums keep the mood right, while the keyboard helps touch your heart and store the words there. The bass does a nice job of adding the thickness that is needed, pushing the vocals even deeper into the listener's mind. So soft and touching, this song will have you thinking about love in no time. Truly touching, if this song doesn't move you then there is something wrong with you. "Time" once again shows another side of the band, adding an accordion into the mix. Best described as an Italian drinking song, this number relies on vocal strength to make it what it is. The music isn't that interesting, so it's a good thing the vocals are so tremendous. Finishing off with "Mysteries," some soul-jazz helps wind down a very delightful album. And a first for any swing album I've heard in a while, they include a bonus track!
Their swing is quite good, which really got me into the album, but when I heard them do soul as well, I was sold. These guys are very versatile, so it's no wonder they're creating quite a buzz in the swing world. I'll give this disc an A.
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