Cassette Reviews-Feb 2001
Note: Reviews are in no particular order

This month, we have yet more reviews from the Best Kept Secret label. I came across the label quite by accident. This Italy-based label, distributed the last CD by Garfields Birthday. Plus they have a release by the Moonbabies. So, I figured that if they had such great groups on their label, the chances are that they had more!

My rating system is a little different from my CD ratings. Especially since you don't get the same sound quality as CD's. So, a five-star rating here wouldn't necessarily mean the same as a five-star rating in the CD section.

Click here to visit the Besk Kept Secret web site

Hunnypal - "Everyone Carries Around Secrets"

I've got to admit that I had a bias when I listened to this tape. I expected another band from Sweden like the Moonbabies. But, Hunnypal is more gritty rock and roll than the Moonbabies. Despite muddy production, the band really has it together. They have perfected the pretty ballad-like song which goes into hard edge rock. It is a pretty cool contrast. However, the major problem with this band is its singer. The vocal chores are split between Hakan and Lisa, with Hakan dominating most songs. I just don't like Hakan's voice, it is grating and really distracts from the songs. And he tries to sound too much like the Cure. In contrast, Lisa's voice fits perfectly with the bands style. Unfortunately, they don't utilize this untapped talent. Plus, Hakan cannot harmonize with Lisa, again it detracts from the songs. The prime example is the song, "Things Between " which features Lisa. All is well until Hakan's harmonies.

I think the band ought to consider making Lisa its PRIME vocalist on all the songs. There are so many good songs here that simply became second-rate with Hakan's vocals. This minor change would have made this tape 100% better!

Review by GPR


Lettuce Prey - "Blood From a Stoner Witch"

I don't know anything about Lettuce Prey. Is this a one-man band or a full band with very little instrumentation? At least according to the insert of the cassette for "Stoner Witch", Lettuce Prey comes from Montana (well, at least that is where they can be reached). This particular recording was released on Italy's Best Kept Secret label. The first three songs I thought were kind of interesting. But afterwards, my interest began to diminish and there seemed to be a lack of energy felt throughout this recording. Hell, quite a good few of the songs are instrumentals, not to mention the mostly instrumental, "Much Bigger Than Me" (in which the title is the only lyric expressed in the song). I gave the title track the highest ranking because I was pretty blown away with it's lyrical content. It seems like it's basically a song about drugs and its dangers, so that is the song I was most impressed with. The second side of this cassette features a couple of good songs such as "Pick a Pony" and "Born To", as well as a backwards-tape rendition of David Crosby's "Mind Garden" to close the album.

I gave this album 2 stars, mostly because of the lack of strong lyrical content. I hate to say this, but I think this guy has smoked a few too many when writing the material. The guitar work is quite proficient, but mostly it didn't move me the way I had expected it to.

Review by Sean Young


Cliff Brown Jr. - "We Are Stardust"

This is the fifth album by Texas Folk rocker Cliff Brown Jr. This is a recording that is richer in musical imagery than lyrical matter. While the guitar work is not too short of innovative, it does tend to somehow drowse the high-energy rock aficionado. This is an album that basically starts out with a couple of songs that seem pretty interesting, but then, the groove tends to wear down and sag quicker than a bowl of ice cream in a sauna. The opening track, "Get You Down" I liked because it had a strong groove. This song is followed by a couple of Dylan-meets-Beck type folk songs that precede both elements of mid '60s psychedelia, and Clash-style reggae dubs. I wonder if Mick Jagger will sue this guy on the grounds of the melody used in the beginning lyric in the title track, of the Stones classic ditty, "Ruby Tuesday" - because it sure sounds like a sure steal. And, I also hope that Ray Davies likes Cliff's take on the Kink's trip "Fancy" because they both sound quite alike. The rest of this is pretty & how should I say it, instrumental, because that is just some of what you get on this recording: instrumentals.

Perfect for potheads, beatniks and anyone else who is into strange, yet poetic, artsy-fartsy folk rock. I wonder if anyone else in my hometown of Atlanta has heard of Cliff Brown Jr., because I think he'd make the scene. No shit.

Review by Young

Shy Rights Movement - "Great Western"

"Drag Me". Yeah, that pretty much sums up the album "Great Western" by Lankashire England's' Shy Rights Movement. This recording sounds like it was made at home using a standard recorder, you know, the kind you use to record little things, such as memos to selves, etc. The first three tracks on this album are sleepers for the true rock fan. It's more for this god-forsaken so-called (I hate to use the world) "ALTERNATIVE" crowd. However, I was fortunate enough to find two songs on the first side of this cassette somewhat acceptable, the early REM-ish "Serpent Song" and, even though I used it to describe the recording in general, "Drag Me". For some reason, the sound quality on "Merchant City Hotel" is so shitty, you almost cannot tell if the song is fading to the end right in the middle of the second verse. Moving on to side-B, the track "Sandy" is fine because it almost has a sort of Concrete Blonde-y feel to it, especially in the chorus. Pretty much echoes any one of the missing Beatles songs from their psychedelic hey-day, say, 'Magical Mystery Tour', while the title track may kind of remind you of Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here".

This album is, in my opinion, PERFECT for mainstream audiences, MTV, MP3, etc. Seeing as this is the same type of rock music that any average ordinary pot-smoking fashion victim might relate to. I can definitely (nowadays) see songs like this being made into high-cost, low creativity, image-heavy music videos. Hey, if you like Vertical Horizon, you'll just LOVE the Shy Rights Movement.

Review by Sean Young

Our rating system:

Almost perfect...
Moments of brilliance...
Slightly redeamiing...
Worthless piece of $#%@...