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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Cherry Poppin’ Daddies

Susquehanna

Review by Gary Hill

This is the first time I heard The Cherry Poppin’ Daddies. I had always thought of them as one of the modern big bands – like Atomic Fireballs. Certainly they have some of that element going on, but that’s really only part of the picture here. These guys seem to like to change it up a lot, moving into reggae, emo and modern alternative rock with ease. And yet, they manage to keep a consistent sound throughout. This is definitely not for everyone, but if you enjoy the lounge lizard, big band sound and some other types of old school pop music, you’ll probably really like this. It definitely swings and sways and manages to amuse and sometimes amaze.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2009  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
Bust Out
Some cool Latin guitar based sounds open this. The cut works out from with a real Latin horn driven vibe. When it drops for the vocals, it is almost hip hop oriented. As it continues we get some other quirky musical elements built into it. There is a pop music kind of bit mid-track, and from there we're taken into a full on Latin instrumental movement. Whatever you call this, you'll find it to be fun.
The Mongoose and the Snake
The reggae is pretty much gone from this and the track seems to combine a killer rockabilly sound with a big band element. While I liked the first one quite a bit, this is even stronger.
Hi and Lo
The reggae is back in spades here. This has more of a modern rock feeling to it and perhaps even a little emo. While it’s more mainstream in a lot of ways, that’s not necessarily a good thing. This doesn’t seem as unique as the first couple tracks and therefore not quite as strong. It’s still good, though.
Blood Orange Sun
Another that has some emo within, I’m not extremely blown away by this one. There are some hints here and there of Spanish music, though. This is not terrible, but weaker than the songs that preceded it.
White Trash Toodle oo
This is a real powerhouse. It’s one of the strongest cuts on show here. It’s got more of that rockabilly element, but also a lot of big band sound. This rocks out harder than pretty much anything else on the whole CD. It’s also one of my favorites. There’s a killer jazz instrumental break in the middle of this. 
Julie Grave
More of a straight ahead rocker, this has a bit of an ‘80’s feel to it. I’d put this one somewhere around the middle of the set in terms of how effective and successful it is. In a way it reminds me of Smashmouth.
Roseanne
Acoustic guitar based, this is a very flamenco based number. It’s cool and a nice change of pace.
Hammerblow
The reggae returns on this and this cut is a lot of fun. It’s got a great groove to it and some killer retro sounds.
Tom the Lion
There’s a definite Mexican sort of feeling to this. It’s got a south of the border vibe and is a bit more lightweight than some of the other music here.
Wingtips
This is most authentic jazz cut here. It really feels like a lounge lizard big band cut. It’s a nice change of pace and one of the highlights of the set. 
Breathe
A bouncy, acoustic guitar based piece, this is quite folky and yet has a lot of modern alternative rock in it. It’s a good piece of music.
The Good Things
A very pop oriented number, this really feels a lot like something from the late 1960’s or early 1970’s. It’s a nice change, but perhaps a little generic.
Arráncate
The lyrics to this are in Spanish and the track has quite a bit of a Latin texture to it. It’s also got more of the big band sound here. This is a good tune and a great way to close things off. It’s got some classic Spanish guitar.
 
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