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The Nylons

Play On (2002)

4.7

December 31, 2002

Tuning / Blend 5.0
Energy / Intensity 4.0
Innovation / Creativity 4.7
Soloists 4.7
Sound / Production 4.7
Repeat Listenability 4.7
Tracks
1 Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic 4.7
2 Play 4.3
3 This Is It 4.7
4 Feel Like Making Love 5.0
5 Loving You 4.7
6 Good Enough (To Love) 4.7
7 Only One 4.7
8 Wrong and Right 4.7
9 Could've Been You 4.7
10 Hey There 4.7
11 Late in the Evening 4.7
12 One More Lonely Night 4.7

Recorded 2001 – 2002
Total time: 45:57, 12 songs


Tuning / Blend 5
Energy / Intensity 5
Innovation / Creativity 5
Soloists 5
Sound / Production 5
Repeat Listenability 5
Tracks
1 Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic 5
2 Play 4
3 This Is It 5
4 Feel Like Making Love 5
5 Loving You 5
6 Good Enough (To Love) 5
7 Only One 5
8 Wrong and Right 5
9 Could've Been You 5
10 Hey There 5
11 Late in the Evening 5
12 One More Lonely Night 5

Play On is The Nylons' best release yet. Imagine R&B-influenced leads singing richly harmonized pop songs over drum machine born dance beats. If you like the formula, Play On will blow you away. And this is a must-own for anyone who likes to dance to their a cappella. I could barely sit still to type this review!

The production by Adam Messinger and The Nylons is stunning. Mistakes are completely nonexistent. But more importantly, the production is inextricably intertwined with the arrangements to truly artistic effect. It's no wonder that the production and arranging credits are identical. There are so many "wow" moments, so many "ooh, did you hear that?" moments. Perfect fades, perfect mixes, perfect effect choices ... it's a true joy to hear.

The Nylons do, however, have a higher tolerance for cheese than some. Garth Mosbaugh (whose leads sound eerily like Joe "Bob" Finetti's) tends to be the worst offender, penning such insipid lyrics as:

"Please just take my hand and
Lead me through your scene
Baby don't you see
The sky is blue, the trees are green"


If you can hack that, I think you'll make it through the rest of the originals. And even if you can't just "press play" on the cheesier numbers, then just press fast forward. The covers are well-loved classics made slicker and dancier, and well worth the price on their own. My favorites were Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic, This Is It, Only One and Late in the Evening.

As soloists, The Nylons are usually pretty good. On Play On they're at their best. That's as much a compliment to the microscopically attentive production as to the leads themselves. The same can be said for the drum machine programming and sampling. Yeah, the beats are still canned, but they sound fantastic.

To sum up: great leads, great beats, perfect production, perfect engineering and great arranging. Press play? I think I will. Repeatedly.


Tuning / Blend 5
Energy / Intensity 5
Innovation / Creativity 5
Soloists 5
Sound / Production 5
Repeat Listenability 5
Tracks
1 Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic 5
2 Play 5
3 This Is It 5
4 Feel Like Making Love 5
5 Loving You 5
6 Good Enough (To Love) 5
7 Only One 5
8 Wrong and Right 5
9 Could've Been You 5
10 Hey There 5
11 Late in the Evening 5
12 One More Lonely Night 5

Play On is the first full Nylons album I have heard, and it definitely won't be my last. Without mincing words, this album is fantastic. The group uses a real drum set and not vocal percussion, but I don't fault them for it. One must appreciate good music no matter what form it takes.

Their arrangements are innovative and flawlessly executed. They have an amazingly tight blend and beautiful harmonies and every guy in the group is an amazing lead. The original music is catchy and interesting. The production is excellent. Play On is awesome. The Nylons are awesome.

If their music is any indication, the men of The Nylons are young at heart. And though The Nylons are most famous for that song Na Na Hey Hey (Kiss Him Goodbye), which was released in the '80s, I suggest you check them out in this century.


Tuning / Blend 5
Energy / Intensity 2
Innovation / Creativity 4
Soloists 4
Sound / Production 4
Repeat Listenability 4
Tracks
1 Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic 4
2 Play 4
3 This Is It 4
4 Feel Like Making Love 5
5 Loving You 4
6 Good Enough (To Love) 4
7 Only One 4
8 Wrong and Right 4
9 Could've Been You 4
10 Hey There 4
11 Late in the Evening 4
12 One More Lonely Night 4

The Nylons' latest release is no great departure from their previous albums. It has more jazz-influenced, crunchy chords, but the track list, arrangements, and performance still fall nicely into what I'd call adult contemporary. I don't happen to care for it personally, but if you do, you'll probably like this recording.

The album features top-notch tuning, good production overall, effective arrangements, and adequate soloists. So why didn't I especially enjoy Play On?

The Nylons absolutely sing in tune. When it comes to technical proficiency, I have zero complaints. The sound production is fine. Vocals still sound natural and real though there's a bit too much obvious digital manipulation in the editing for my taste. For all its slickness, there's no big booming bass, hit-you-in-the-chest percussion, or zing and crispness to the sound. The arrangements are effective, but only insofar as they give a reasonable duplication of the original material; the covers just aren't all that interesting to begin with. I wouldn't say any of the soloists shine, though I have a personal liking for Mr. Robinson.

The originals are slightly more interesting than the covers. Lyrically, there's nothing challenging here, and The Nylons just can't seem to shake the late '80s/early '90s adult contemporary sound. Perhaps that's because they don't want to. In any case, they do it well. But I can't get over the artificiality of the drum machine or the predictable programming. It makes the songs static and mechanical when what the album really needs is life — even at the expense of perfection. The vocals go the way of the drums, technically all there, but lacking in excitement and energy. It's almost sterile. I wanted more spirit and vitality. Creatively and artistically, I just didn't find anything compelling, either positive or negative, about the CD.

If you like the latter configurations of The Nylons then by all means, go buy this album. But if you prefer their music from the '80s, or if you just like exciting a cappella music, I wouldn't recommend it.

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Ordering Information

CDs by The Nylons are available in most retail stores throughout Canada. Play On is distributed in Canada by Distribution Fusion III Inc.. In the United States, CDs by the Nylons may be purchased through Mainely A Cappella and through Primarily A Cappella.

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