Tip The Van - Something Wicked
Release Date: March 11th, 2006
Record Label: Asbestos Records
As my time as a critical, unbiased analyst has gently fluttered by, I've perceived distinct trivialities surrounding the state of music as we know it, and while this propaganda may not appear as inordinately conspicuous on the surface, I assure you it has lent a hand in the advancement of my fault-finding visibility. With hours of examination, and nearly a decade of exposure to my name, one lone fact is able to comfortably summarize my collective findings. With local, unacknowledged talent placed beneath the microscope, I have gradually identified that these performers can quite artlessly be lumped into one of two categories; those that boast the capability to flourish, and those climactically doomed to fail.
In the case of Marlborough, Connecticut's female-fronted, self-proclaimed rock-ska septet, Tip The Van, and their long-awaited, fourth studio release, Something Wicked, our young craftsmen appear to have acquired an often deserted middle-ground. While the outfit, who perform a familiar hybrid of ska, rock, and reggae, certainly exert an indivertible aptness for imaginative craftsmanship, one can't help but accentuate the spacious radius begging for evolution, one that assuredly demanded said growth this distant from commencement, nor the flock's simplistic, recycled formula. Something Wicked, while not entirely a period of uninspired dawdling, forges ahead in a congruous, tired fashion undoubtedly equivalent to the group's primitive material, and despite what even the most crude connoisseur may or may not advise, little augmentation is administered.
However, I owe truth to the notion that behind every bout of defeat lies a discreetly authorized ribbon of redemption, regardless of just how concealed or otherwise detectable it may transpire to be. Thus, without further adieu, allow me to intensify the gathering's able-bodied course of disenthrallment. The act, who quite peculiarly flaunts dual, blood-bound lead vocalists Nicole and Simone Oliva, do successfully, although rather irregularly, muster a handful of consequential moments, and while they emerge at rather widespread intervals, these auroras are no less deserving of commencement. On "Simply Goodbye," the album's lead offering, which discloses itself rather abruptly, the hosts elaborate on a facile, yet arresting recipe that characterizes plainly influential troupes Save Ferris and the Dance Hall Crashers, all the while lacing lavish groundwork with gleaming brass arrangements and smooth choral harmonies. On "The Chase," the collection's second production, the Oliva sisters, each of whom exhibit an inarguable talent, operate in a luxurious, cooperative manner, and while their conjoint performance is pleasurable in it's own right, listeners will often discover dull moments and keys which cannot be interpreted as anything but apathy. On "Dance Off," the fifth submission up to bat, audiences will encounter a highly stimulating measure interweaved with buoyant guitar work and tight-knit horn blueprints, which materialize courtesy of trombonist Stephanie Allen and trumpeter Anthony DelVeccio.
Yet, as the album's latter half exposes itself, radiant moments are issued at even further elongated intervals, and while I find waiting games strenuous and disheartening, I'll allow you each to concoct your own personal judgement. On "Circles," a brass-laden, rhythm-driven ska ditty, the release falls victim to shoddy, second-rate production, and to be generous, the song itself, while artful, is flat and colourless. On "Objection," Something Wicked's eighth aspiration, the disc becomes tragically characterized by repetition, and while one may the propose the argument that each composition possesses a tattoo swaggering with unique singularity, I refuse to accredit anyone's faith that isn't my own. On "Overruled," the album's ninth exertion, Tip The Van acquire a prevalent, albeit boisterous, prescription reminiscent of legendary, third-wave, textbook celebrities, Florida's Less Than Jake, and while the Connectictut septet do little to captivate squandered audiences, they appear to have found their niche. Thankfully, further redemption gushes forward in the form of "Lets Say," the record's tenth output, and respectively Something Wicked's incomparable peak. While I am positive that the sole masterpiece is far from capable of saving grace, dual vocalists Nicole and Simone Oliva's endowment is stunningly awe-inspiring, and despite any animosity or neglect, I would call it misconstrued and counterfactual to discredit the group's rather adequate frontrunners.
Still, as the album's curtains close and spotlights wander off, Tip The Van are unable the bypass the aforementioned barren, comatose middle-ground, and while truthfully few of Something Wicked's pursuits fall trivially short of a rewarding escape, these performers appear glued to it's benumbed surface. However, even beneath the most inanimate skies, it would be a case of first-class treachery to witness the act's disbandment. With essential maturation, fewer standardized techniques, and outstanding production, Tip The Van may very well bear the blemishes of champions, and while I devotedly anticipate the outstretched climb before them, I can only hope our able composers feel the same.