Walk Off The Earth: R.E.V.O (Columbia)
Walk Off The Earth are yet another band that has been discovered via the Internet with their loopy and interesting knock offs of other peoples’ songs.
WOTE have equally spoofed and celebrated the likes of B.o.B and Adele but it was their unique rendition of Goyte’s Somebody That I Used To Know that really sent the band into the stratosphere.
The five members all play, tap, strum, finger etc. the parts to the Gotye hit on one acoustic guitar at the same time and the video has been viewed many millions of times on Youtube, while Gotye himself gave the group his own thumbs up.
WOTE have released two indie albums but that Internet exposure got the recording labels calling and R.E.V.O. (an acronym for Realize Every Victory Outright) marks the Toronto band’s major label debut.
This is a likeable blend of folk and indie pop that never gets complicated although it often addresses mature relationships with a breezy and frolicsome vibe.
Often their songs feel like they are using island rhythms with arrangements that are sometimes equally chants or singalongs.
The feature song Red Hands has a military beat foiled by a Caribbean groove, while the sly Afro beat of Gang Of Rhythms could have come out of the Paul Simon songbook.
My fave track, Speeches, has a playful Barenaked Ladies thrust to it while there is a communal sense to all of WOTE music.
I wonder if Walk Off The Earth have heard any now obscure Poi Dog Pondering albums because that is the antecedent I sometimes hear in the mix.
And oh yeah, that Gotye song is here too.
Nigel Kennedy: Recital (Sony Classical)
Nigel Kennedy is a restless spirit when it comes to his musical muses.
He has been all over the map performing scads of classical music as well as tribute violin albums to Jimi Hendrix.
Kennedy is also very prolific and this time out he is performing a classical/jazz, hybrid where he pays tribute to heroes Fats Waller (four tunes) as well as J.S. Bach.
Things start off brilliantly with a campy improvisation of Waller’s Sweet & Low where Kennedy channels another hero in Stephane Grappelli for some lovely, lilting jazz violin swing.
Kennedy lets his freak flag fly with a unique version of Dave Brubeck’s Take Five that has an off kilter oriental intro as Brubeck and Ravi Shankar both died within days of each other and Kennedy wanted to acknowledge this.
Probably the best track here is Viper’s Drag—Fats Waller’s homage to marijuana and hence the spaced out middle solo which could cause a listener an unsuspecting contact high.
The Bach tunes are Bachish but I would have preferred a whole album to Waller’s music that lends itself well to Kennedy’s mad genius.
This is small combo music that is marvelously efficient and you will be wondering how some of the longer tracks just seemed to slip by.
A fun listen.