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CD REVIEW: Four Shadow - Where Have You Been
By Ben Ohmart - 07/29/2001 - 02:17 PM EDT

Artist: Band: Four Shadow
Album: Where Have You Been
CD Review: A cappella sensation Four Shadow, based out of Minneapolis, have shared the stage with the Coasters, the Drifters and the Platters, and rely on voices almost solely, not fancy instrumentation. Whereas everyone knows the Beach Boys, they also know that the Beach Boys' voices are only one part. Four Shadow's voices Are the songs. Even when there is an electric guitar solo floating through a tune, as in 'Fields of Joy,' there is a voice in there. Is it a distorted voice, or it is a guitar with a voice way under it, or is there no voice at all? That's the only constant question you'll keep asking yourself whenever there's an element you can't quite label as Vocal.

Quite a short cd at 28 minutes, but there is a decided charm and variety to these 10 tracks. Half the songs are original, with the other half covering Paul Simon, Dave Matthews and others. Perhaps the most interesting cover comes in the form of 'One Week' from Barenaked Ladies. All of the energy is kept while all the instruments are unnecessary and therefore thrown out. It’s a song of vocal dexterity and Four Shadow tackles it with easy confidence. The Ladies aren’t missed.

My favorite track is Kevin Steinman’s self-penned ‘Little Mouse,’ which reminds me of ‘Elvira’ from the Oak Ridge Boys, with that vocal boom bass beat and walkin’ home rhythm. ‘For two whole months you’ve lived with me, little mouse / creeping ‘long the walls while I watch tv, little mouse / I asked all my friends to see if they know / how to make a little go away, they did not know / you sure are lucky to be here, little mouse.’

Seems they were recently on the Today show. It'd be quite a kick to see these guys live, without the net of a band to catch them if they fall. They never err on the cd.

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