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CD REVIEW: Norman Fell, "Down"
By David Lockeretz - 03/07/2003 - 08:39 PM EST

Artist: Norman Fell
Album: "Down"
CD Review: Norman Fell is about twenty musicians, both male and female, who all appear to play parts of varying size on this CD. Leading the pack are vocalists Scott Milbrath, Kip Overbo, Melvin Johnson and Katy Thomasberg, with guitarist Rich Gaglia leading the instrumentalists. The result is eclectic and entertaining, though not always consistent.

With darkly humorous lyrics and funky musical stylings, Norman Fell brings to mind artists such as REM, They Might Be Giants, Elvis Costello and my lanzmen, Steely Dan. The funky clavinet on "Everybody's Waving Goodbye" and the pumping Motown-influenced groove on "No One Likes You" are examples of the band's sense of taste and expression. Overall, Norman Fell scores higher on more lyrically direct, caustically observed pieces such as "No One" and "I'm Not Ready" than on pieces such as "Hollywood", where they seem trying too hard to be ironic or downright cute.

Norman Fell offers an interesting alternative to much of what is out there today, proving that there was in fact life before the Dave Matthews Band. Hopefully in time they will develop their better material and become contenders. For more information, email normanfelldown@aol.com.


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