CD REVIEW: Blue Ixy - 'Out of the Blue '
By Steve Allat - 03/16/2004 - 03:36 PM EST
Artist: Band: Blue Ixy
Album: 'Out of the Blue '
For Fans Of:: Fleetwood Mac, Eagles, Tom Petty
Fav Track: Into the Blue.
First off, I'll have to admit that while this isn't a genre of music I am an avid fan of, I did my best to listen as if I was. I believe it's still possible to discern 'good' music with an honest ear.
I had to listen to this CD a few times to get into it's groove. It took me a while, but I fell in and then began the process of really listening. Then, what this music is all about, hit me.
'Down Home'. Although I've never been or ever had a 'down home' feeling or sound, I think this trio knows a lot about it.
Blue Ixy is: Tom Luxem (Vocal/Guitar/Bass) and Gaylene & Christopher Huff (Vocals/Keyboards & Drums/Backup Vocals, respectively). That's what it sounds like, too. Three able players spinning uncomplicated songs about enjoying life & love.
The majority of the songs are textured either by Tom's strumming guitar or Gaylene's delicate keyboard/piano sounds and shared lead vocal duties. As seems to be the case, they share duties equally amongst themselves - writing, singing, and playing - and it shows.
The songs are light and open, the vocals clear and present, as they wander through the eleven tracks on the disc which are mostly slow to medium in tempo. This may be where they lose me a bit, but that's partly me as I am a fan of a fast groove. Only one song really got 'going', and I think that I'd like to hear them go there a bit more.
There's a discernible bent towards country & bluegrass alluded to through both the music and the vocal stylings, and while not my favourite, the band seems comfortable in that zone.
A couple pet peeves of mine, that I think could have made this CD and the performance even better, and possibly more accessible to a wider audience:
1. Pronunciation - it's too good, if you know what I mean. I feel like I would rather have heard a little more passion in the vocals, and a little less attention to detail.
2. Production - as in the previous, it's actually a little too clean, too open and precise. When played live, I'm sure the words and music blend warmly together, and that richer, fuller sound would have complemented these songs a lot more than the dry, separated sound the CD delivers.
3. Performance - the playing is very good, but the songs could have used a bit more. Either in the form of layering guitar or vocals, again this would have warmed up the sound to a place that I would have enjoyed the songs more.
Well, as P seems to be the letter of the day:
4. Passion - while it's apparent that the songs are well-written, well thought out and a cohesive set, a few instances of creative passion, of straying from the formula could have instilled the songs and the presentation to the next level.
5. Plinking - sorry Gaylene, but I just couldn't get over the sound of the keyboards on the opening track. The piano sounds great, but a warm soft synth for those tracks wanting a keyboard sound would have been great.
Overall, Blue Ixy has come up with some light, fun music. Nothing to challenge the senses too much, but enough to get you to sit up and take notice. A nice, safe serving of 'down home'.
A few more hooks, a little 'oomph' in the performance and production and I really think they'll have it going on within the genre.
By the way, anybody know what a Blue Ixy is?
Website: Blue Ixy Homepage
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