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RARB REVIEW

Group: Four Shadow
Album: One Leg At A Time

Total time: 44:27, 16 songs
Recorded 1997

Ordering Information


Track Listing

  1. Real Live Girl (5.0)
  2. Walking On Sunshine (4.6)
  3. No One Will Know (4.2)
  4. Let the Little Girl Dance (6.0)
  5. Snowblind (5.6)
  6. Lump (5.4)
  7. Brainstorm (5.6)
  8. Off the Ice (4.8)
  9. Red Hot Mama (6.0)
  10. Blue Sky (5.0)
  11. Internet Love (5.4)
  12. Woods (4.6)
  13. Pretty Little Angel Eyes (6.8)
  14. What on Earth (4.6)
  15. Missionary Man (5.4)
  16. You Gotta Be (6.4)

Reviews

Overall

Matt Cohen

Well, there ARE some good songs here. And none of the original songs fall into the trap of being totally trite, which is more than I can say for a lot of albums. But this still isn't a good album. The bad songs distracting from the quality material. You can't ignore the tuneless and unfunny novelty song that opens the CD (it's a failed Bobs-esque tribute to Barbie.) It's hard to appreciate the CD as a whole whenever one of the tenors' lead vocal lines fades into the background. It's hard to understand why they break away from their basic sound to perform some ill-conceived and rather messy covers of more contemporary stuff (Lump, Missionary Man, You Gotta Be.) Too many of the songs just sit there, failing to grab you by the ear.

It's a shame. When they're covering an oldie, such as Let the Little Girl Dance or Pretty Little Angel Eyes, they never fail to please. They can write a good pop song when they stay away from novelty tunes. In the case of Snowblind, they can even write a darn good pop song. As long as they stick to basics, they can remind you of what four guys can do. Unfortunately, it's also a painful reminder that an album is not just a collection of songs — it has to add up to a coherent piece of work.
Rating: 5 (5.9)

Gabriel Shabbtai Rutman

am i becoming amazingly cynical? or have all the albums i've reviewed recently been just really really bad? i have to think it's the latter. 'cause i've heard some music, most of it not a cappella, that has blown me away of late. but four shadow is another in a long line of a cappella groups that don't really have much to offer a guy like me. i'm in a constant search for the good stuff, the stuff that doesn't make you think about bad pitch and bad lyrics and bad ideas and cheesiness, the stuff that comes in and tears your heart and makes you want to sing along and fills your insides with a shiver that can't be explained. four shadow is so far from that... god, they're in another galaxy.
Rating: 3 (3.1)

Randi Sherman

I realized halfway through the first song that I had heard it before, and it's an original. Hmmm. Then, my friend reminded me that I have seen Four Shadow open for another a cappella group on campus here, so my review can't be based simply on the CD. They are much better at live performances, and their best songs are the humorous ones about things like Barbie dolls and internet love. This CD is definitely one thing for sure: inconsistent. Although they do mention on the CD jacket that "the CD is very eclectic" it's almost like they are using that as an excuse. I would've liked more similar song choices. Some of their songs are great, and others are near the "should not have been recorded" end. But, they are only four men, and they often extend themselves to the limits. At other times, they choose songs with such complex chords that they lose a lot of flavor of the original because they are working with such a small group. I'm sure many a cappella groups would want to cover their funny songs, though.
Rating: 6 (5.6)

Ben Tritle

This is an interesting CD, mostly because Four Shadow did not play it safe in their writing and arranging. Not all of it worked, but I can appreciate the effort. Most of the problems I had with it centered around two areas: blend and writing. Understandably, with a four-man group, it's hard to achieve the blend that is often found in collegiate groups, but it is still easy to pick out when one part is a little more noticeable. As for the writing, well I found a couple of the songs odd, mostly because the subject was not that apparent. Regardless, it is a CD that would complement any collection. Not necessarily one that I'd run out and buy, more like one that I'd notice, think "Oh, cool" then decide that it wouldn't hurt to buy it.
Rating: 7 (7.1)

Shawn Pearce

When they coined the monicker "Slightly Irregular A Cappella" for their group, I didn't know they were referring to the pitch, rhythm, and overall musicality. Harsh? Maybe so, but for a professional group, this was a way-below-par recording. If your bass can't hit low notes without scooping or vocal distortion, don't write those notes in your repertoire. Sing with energy, be it live or Memorex. Don't cover songs that require a lot of different sounds unless you can do something truly different with the song. Covers should either invoke the feel of the original or should be so well written that it makes us forget about how the original was done. None of this occurred on the album...and as a result it sounds like a college quartet that rehearses two hours a week and gigs for the fun of it. If this was what Four Shadow was meant to be, then that would be fine...but they market themselves as professionals, and this recording was, to be frank, barely professional. There have been rumors that the band is rebuilding from the ground up...which may be the best thing to happen to them if it comes through. As it stands, I cannot recommend this recording....especially since it hits upon so many of the things that are holding a cappella back from mainstream popularity.
Rating: 3 (5.1)


Individual Tracks

  1. Real Live Girl (5.0)
    Matt Cohen

    Why did they put this song first? This original is extremely Bobs-esque in the worst possible way: music takes a back seat to bizarre lyrics. It's a cute idea — a boy's love affair with a Barbie — but the lyrics fail to hit any truly comic notes. And the music is a jumble of slow harmony sections and tuneless fast sections. The tempo changes are enough to give you motion sickness. A bad choice for the opening track.
    Rating: 3

    Gabriel Shabbtai Rutman

    this is an original song about barbie, kinda funny. it features some really bad pitch, quite loose four part harmonies (loose = bad = not tight), and a stop & start structure that i personally find kinda of annoying on an album, but which probably succeeds live (allowing for bursts of applause from the hapless audience).
    Rating: 3

    Randi Sherman

    This is an original song by Four Shadow which is about a love affair with Barbie? Hmmm. It's a really simple arrangement; nothing too fancy, because the words of this song speak for itself "Your legs are so long and you're ever so top-heavy". A lot of the song is a soloist with moving chords on vowels, and the chords don't move together. But, because of the great humor of this song, it doesn't take away too much. A funny song, but nothing musically amazing.
    Rating: 6

    Ben Tritle

    A ballad (?) to Barbie...cleverly written with really strong backing vocals. Not very long, but a memorable opener. Bruce Haasl apparently has some emotional problems to work out, because he released a lot of them in his tribute to a doll. Nicely done.
    Rating: 7

    Shawn Pearce

    A cute little song where the lead fantasizes about his little sister's Barbie. Cute and quirky, I bet they really manage to "cheese it up" well live, but on recording, it sounds a little manufactured. Still, it has a good chuckle or two, and it's relatively short as well.
    Rating: 6

  2. Walking On Sunshine (4.6)
    Matt Cohen

    I like the idea of doing this song a cappella. I like simple arrangement. I like the idea of having guys sing it. What I don't like is the choice of leads. The choruses are suitably sung by a tenor, but the verses are handled by the bass (with the tenor occasionally shadowing him). An interesting idea, but it doesn't pay off. Maybe they should have stuck with the tenor on lead and had the bass shadow him.
    Rating: 5

    Gabriel Shabbtai Rutman

    you've heard this one, katrina and the waves made it popular. four shadow performs an extremely simple (doo doo doo) arrangement with the bass singing lead during the verses, not too well, not with much soul, not with such great pitch. when the 2nd tenor takes over the lead in the choruses, he's not much better. just doesn't have that special something that differentiates the truly excellent singer from the typical a cappella singer. also, the bass line is singing over the wrong changes during the chorus. oh well.
    Rating: 3

    Randi Sherman

    Really nice blend on the beginning of this song, but one of the voices (I believe the baritone) is out of tune. This sounds absolutely nothing like the original by Katrina and the Waves because it's a really low bass solo. The cheesy rhythm that is consistent throughout the song needed to change. It sounds like music that would go on a children's show (and all the kids would sing along). The chords during the chorus are simplified, and it doesn't sound like the original chord progression at all, but I guess that's what happens with four voices. You're pretty limited. But I don't think you have to be as limited as this song.
    Rating: 4

    Ben Tritle

    A different take on the Katrina and the Waves classic (has it reached that status already)...the opening is an unneeded attempt at Music Theory 101...bass Marc Falk takes the solo on this, which gives it a bottom heavy feel...when Bruce Haasl comes in at the refrain, it goes back to the original feel. The two solos are not necessarily incompatible, it just takes a while to get used to it.
    Rating: 8

    Shawn Pearce

    The idea of a bass lead on this song was intriguing...and the process by which it was realized was cool....if the bass weren't out of tune for the good parts of his leads. The tenor lead was serviceable..but the bass does some weird things with his voice that really don't sound good at all...and the low notes sound really really forced....maybe they ran out of recording time, but if the bass really is better than this, they could have afforded another take. Other than this, the song is serviceable...except on the chorus where the chord progressions are weird. Oh what the hell..I don't like this. So there.
    Rating: 3

  3. No One Will Know (4.2)
    Matt Cohen

    I like the lyrics on this original, and I like the music too. Very emotional stuff when it all comes together. But the lead uses such a dainty falsetto for most of the verses that he's almost invisible (which makes the lyrics disappear into the background harmonies). When he sings in his ranges, he's got the goods. But he still spends too much time in Falsettoland. The quiet spoken section (it's not quite rap) has an interesting sound, but is ultimately to muddy and out of place.
    Rating: 6

    Gabriel Shabbtai Rutman

    this is a really unusual original song. i was looking forward to it after hearing the first 2 bars of the lead over a simple arrangement (he's the 1st tenor, singing in falsetto). however, i was soon disappointed by convolution and really really really bad pitch throughout. the lead has quite an unusual quality to his voice, a unique ability to disappear deep into the mix and then stick out dramatically over the top. there's a frightening section where the group sings scary progressions on "ah" and the lead rants about not "belonging" in a quick speaking voice that does nothing but scare the living shit out of me. and i don't think that was the intent. if it was, success. ooh, one other thing: i'm not one who's known for his ennunciation, but if you understand any of the words in the verses of this tune, well, let me know.
    Rating: 2

    Randi Sherman

    Tuning!!! The beginning doesn't settle at all, and the recording quality is really metallicy. The high tenor solo is so high you don't understand the words at all. The song is really nasal and irritating. Because you can't understand the soloist at all, the whole song sounds like a bunch of syllables. I don't hear any sense of direction in this song. The talking in the middle of the song has to go. I don't understand what the guy is saying, and I don't even understand what the chords are supposed to be. All of their vowels don't match each other when they're saying the same words! They really needed diction lessons for this tune.
    Rating: 2

    Ben Tritle

    Troubled early on by what I perceived as pitch problems. Focus shifted so much, that I started getting slightly confused. There's a dialogue at the bridge that is cleverly written, but doesn't seem to be about anything. I have no doubt Four Shadow knows what the song is about, and Eric Skalinder gives it a lot of feeling, but the lyrics are difficult to follow, as is the arrangement in some places. Nice, but not excellent
    Rating: 5

    Shawn Pearce

    This is a good song. Written about someone who is painfully different from his peers...and is made to be an outcast, the high, soft tenor evokes the pain of timidity. The things that detract from it...again, the bass losing tuning at the low notes, and the problems it causes on some of the sections...and the sort of emptiness to the sound. I've heard four guys come up with a fuller sound on a lot of their music than Four Shadow comes up with.
    Rating: 6 (mainly for the songwriting)

  4. Let the Little Girl Dance (6.0)
    Matt Cohen

    To steal a line from Wendy Wasserstein: It's funsy! Great song choice, and they really take the material and make it their own — particularly on the Spanish breakdown section.
    Rating: 9

    Gabriel Shabbtai Rutman

    more bad pitch opens this little doowop number, which features a bass line mixed louder than, well, louder than it should have been. the best part is the party section, where the group whistles and talks and does a little spanish thing. whee! halfway through the tempo increases by about 20% (i think this wasn't on purpose). they had a great time with the pan knob. uh, ok.
    Rating: 3

    Randi Sherman

    Out of tune in the first 10 seconds is never a good sign. This song would be great if they didn't have the slow beginning. Didn't they realize that in recording? The walking bass line, however, makes up for that. This song has a great swing to it, and the minimal percussion helps out a lot. Really cute song, and this should have opened the album. The "percussion" break in the middle of the song where they introduce themselves in spanish is pretty cool, even if it is a little random. All of the transitions are really clean from one section to another.
    Rating: 7

    Ben Tritle

    Doo-wop with heart. Nicely executed. No problems with blend or pitch that I could see. Doesn't provoke a whole lot of emotion, but it is fun to hear.
    Rating: 7

    Shawn Pearce

    The bass is killing me...he ALMOST hits the extreme notes in his range, and he's sliding all over the place. Otherwise, a cute '60s style song with an interesting diversion into Mexican flavored Velveeta. That's really all that can be said..the part where all four have the words at the end makes up for a lot, as it's kinda fun.
    Rating: 4

  5. Snowblind (5.6)
    Matt Cohen

    THIS is the track that they should have put up front. Strong harmony and a simple arrangement that shows you why four voices used to be the standard set up for a cappella. The one draw back is a rather abrupt ending. It's ironic, because what makes the rest of the song work is great timing and clever rhythms.
    Rating: 9

    Gabriel Shabbtai Rutman

    the lead on this original is consistently nasal and flat. i'm not sure why it's called snowblind, not that it matters. the chorus is hook is "ooh, girl." ooh, boy. not not not not exciting, the lead does little to bring any kind of passion, emotion, love, to the tune. not a bad song: a more interesting arrangement/production could have made this succeed a little easier, but as it is it sounds like a weak demo version with a bunch of takes that shouldn't have been.
    Rating: 2

    Randi Sherman

    Again, the recording quality is really brassy — sounds odd and too much like an echo chamber. There's some good syncopation in this song. The soloist is really nasal, and I find his voice irritating. He can't pronounce his words that clearly.
    Rating: 4

    Ben Tritle

    Karl Schroeder with a bit of soul/funk. I immediately liked it from the first chords. I think I also like it with all the St. Paul references (Hometown for me is Bloomington). Cleaner track with more attention (it seems) payed to the arrangement and production than track 3...I like it.
    Rating: 8

    Shawn Pearce

    I think this song would make a lot more sense...and be a lot more fun... if I lived in St. Paul, as it seems to be a love song with a lot of local references. Bass is workable in this song...but their attempts at color chords miss more often than hit, and it sounds like everyone is trying too hard.
    Rating: 5

  6. Lump (5.4)
    Matt Cohen

    This was a bad idea. I'm not saying that because I don't believe in alternative a cappella (I DO — just read my review of Off the Beat.) It's not that I don't like the song either (I think The Presidents are great!) The problem is that this song just doesn't work a cappella. Four Shadow throws every harmony, distortion, and percussive trick they can at this. But what made the original so good was it's stripped down sound. The Presidents only have one drummer and two guitars. And the two guitars only have 5 strings between them! You can't duplicate that feel. You shouldn't even try.
    Rating: 4

    Gabriel Shabbtai Rutman

    bad leads, badly recorded. i think perhaps these guys should invest in a couple compressors. mediocre vocal percussion, bad pitch throughout. one thing this one's got that the others could've learned from: energy. fast, furious, the speed lets one almost overlook the performance errors and generally not great singing. great feedback on the distortion vocal at the end: my favorite part of the album.
    Rating: 2

    Randi Sherman

    This was really creative, but I think they went overboard in the "alternative" style, because they're practically "yell-speaking" in the beginning of the song. There's a really great effect that sounds like a "talk box" and a real guitar, and they definitely edited over their voices a few times. This song was great to listen to, excellent percussion, but the only problem was that they used feedback in the end which ruined the ending. They should've left it purely a cappella.
    Rating: 7

    Ben Tritle

    The Pres. of the U.S.A. song. Seems like it was something arranged on the spur of the moment (or perhaps a little more time than that). Despite that, effort does come across on the recording (what does this look like in performance, I wonder). Nice effect with the "electric guitar" by Marc. If anything, it may be too busy an arrangement, but nevertheless, worth a good listening.
    Rating: 7

    Shawn Pearce

    The novelty works for about a minute and 30...liberal use of the fuzzbox makes the song work fairly well. I imagine this is a highlight of their live set...for the novelty and for the execution. The box makes a good attempt at covering the musical inadequacies of the bass and the group..... and it works for the most part. An enjoyable track..and something different.
    Rating: 7

  7. Brainstorm (5.6)
    Matt Cohen

    Back to basics and back on track. The lyrics are a bit more original than the average generic love song. Harmony and snaps are put front and center on this mid tempo song. The opening is a bit to strait forward — they almost sound like a parody of barbershop. But once the song gets rolling, it's smooth sailing to the last note.
    Rating: 7

    Gabriel Shabbtai Rutman

    another original which brings me to realize just how simplistic and unoriginal the harmonies are on this album. i don't think there's anything but a first, third, fifth, straight major or minor chord with the root in the bass anywhere on the album. i also have no idea why this song is called brainstorm. it's just a little love song about bein' happy and the girl's all cute and the guy's all psyched and the words are cheesy and the music matches the cheddar factor in the lyrics.
    Rating: 4

    Randi Sherman

    They call this "timeless a cappella with budding love". Guess they review themselves, but I didn't agree with them. Where is this song going? There are some moments of really nice blending, but at other times they're not listening to each other at all. It's like there's four a cappella groups of one person each. Cheesy lyrics, and it sounds like the Beach Boys with the high "wah-oo-oo-oo" in the tenor voice and octave singing. Just an average song for Four Shadow.
    Rating: 5

    Ben Tritle

    Initial reaction: A cappella sugar-coated pop music. Seems like a standard pop track you would find on KDWB (or maybe KS95, Minnesota radio stations), along the lines of Beach Boys, maybe? It's nicely done, just another track that doesn't provoke me.
    Rating: 6

    Shawn Pearce

    Very pretty song. Again, a lot of fun, and musically it's one of the better tracks on there...it evokes a lot of the feel of early, pre-Jeff Thacher Rockapella, without the edge to the sound that Rockapella is known for. A very enjoyable song.
    Rating: 6

  8. Off the Ice (4.8)
    Matt Cohen

    Also known as "Out of the Closet". Their are some nice bits of music, but that's all it really is — bits. None of the tunes, broken up by sudden tempo changes, seem to add up to a whole song. For example, a bridge comes in before you've gotten used to the main line. It all makes it hard to really work its way into your head the way it ought to.
    Rating: 5

    Gabriel Shabbtai Rutman

    more bad pitch, more bahs. this song has a little breakdown in the middle for a slow section, i just didn't care. the lyrics describe coming out of the closet in a way that's not annoying and not overly dramatic, but at the same time didn't really move me. musically this song is uninteresting, featuring an unmemorable melody line which spends most of its time within about a five note span, and chord changes which don't enhance the unmoving melody.
    Rating: 4

    Randi Sherman

    This sounds just like the song I listened to right before it. Just a new soloist with new words and a new melody, but it's the same rhythm and chord progressions with a few variations until the song changes rhythm. There's a slower section with some cool breathing percussion, but other than that part, I don't even know what the song is about. There's no emotion in the soloist's voice.
    Rating: 3

    Ben Tritle

    Starts off fast-tempo, then alternates between slow and fast. A song that deals with a gay man coming out to his parents. The lyrics build up nicely with the confusion that the singer deals with in describing the chain of events. The music and arrangement left me confused as to why you would do this uptempo. If anything, it seemed too busy for the lyrics. Outside that, Bruce Haasl drives through this with concern, making it more palpable to listen to.
    Rating: 7

    Shawn Pearce

    Coming out...a cappella style. I admire them for making the music around it upbeat, as this could have been treated really heavy-handedly. Again, though, the bass overextends himself. Also, they seem to not have really strong control over their tempo...every time they shift tempo, they overshift a bit. This is really illustrating a trend...strong songwriting without a group worthy of the songwriting. (Yes, that sounds harsh...they are a decent enough group...but not up to the material they have.)
    Rating: 5

  9. Red Hot Mama (6.0)
    Matt Cohen

    Funky! It should be. It's a George Clinton song. They pull out the vocal percussion on this one again. It works. At least on the verses. The arrangement of the chorus sounds a little thin. It's too much for four voices to handle. But it's still worth a listen for the verses and some other little twists in the arrangement.
    Rating: 7

    Gabriel Shabbtai Rutman

    wow! they aren't singing bah! yay! this is a george clinton tune. there's some really annoying vocal stuff happening way up high after the choruses, horribly off pitch, one of the strangest sounds i've heard in a while. this song does, however, have a groove, although the terribly white yells and leads are enough to make me want to hide my pale face in shame.
    Rating: 4

    Randi Sherman

    Great low bass song here, but there's about 10 voices at once, because there's a whole section layer of percussion. I don't understand the reasoning behind having a small group if you're going to have people sing 2 and 3 parts in recording. There's a lot of tempo problems in this song, because there's some improvisation of "instruments" which seem unsettled. Nice percussion, but the whole song is a little messy.
    Rating: 4

    Ben Tritle

    Cover of George Clinton song...production time was put into this as there are more tracks laid on this than the four man group could do live. The bridges between verses are kept moving with the cadenzas the soloists do. It could easily be boring with the repetitive, haunting background, but isn't. It's quite a toe-tapper.
    Rating: 8

    Shawn Pearce

    This shines like a jewel in the rest of the album, and is a believable representation of funk...and a blast to perform, I'd wager. The bass is pretty much good in this one (but nowhere near the professional level I've grown accustomed to from professional a cappella basses), and the rest of the singing is solid. I like this one.
    Rating: 7

  10. Blue Sky (5.0)
    Matt Cohen

    Very interesting harmonies on the lead vox (the duet is taken by the bass). One of the tenors comes out of the background to sing some graceful melody stuff over the rest of the group at the end. A nice way to cap off this obscure cover song.
    Rating: 8

    Gabriel Shabbtai Rutman

    ooh! let's double the lead! sorry. had to make fun. cool studio techniques aren't going to save this group at this point. i have no idea who did this song originally. i just can't believe, still, in track ten already, that they kept some of these takes! pitch is so bad sometimes i can't bear it. percussion is weak, and the choice of reverb is wrong. when the lead sings "i want the blue" it just kills, it's just off! ok? aaagh!
    Rating: 1

    Randi Sherman

    Again, the chords move by so quickly in this song that the group doesn't allow the tuning to settle. I like the solo sung in two octaves, because it gives a really nice full sound. The syllable "jah" works well for variation, but the choice of vowels seems to slow them down. The nasal soloist returns again, and his style of singing doesn't match the rest of the song. There are a lot of blending problems, and the group doesn't realize that louder doesn't mean sing flat.
    Rating: 4

    Ben Tritle

    Balance was a little off early on...a couple parts were more noticeable than probably should have been. Works itself out later on. The overall sound is a little harsher than the material allows, a result of maybe dynamics being a notch or two on the loud side.
    Rating: 6

    Shawn Pearce

    A baritone lead....funny that. Solid enough song....until they give it to the bassline, who then tends to meander around the pitch a good bit when he sings lead lines. Still, the song is constructed well, and the song is really strong songwriting again, even for a cover (The group is a local band from their area)
    Rating: 6

  11. Internet Love (5.4)
    Matt Cohen

    It's a comedy song about you-know-what. But it's just not funny. At least it's listenable.
    Rating: 4

    Gabriel Shabbtai Rutman

    an original about the internet! hee hee! how cute! i love the internet! hee hee! cyberspace! hee hee! i can't see you but i can hit on you over the phone line! hee hee! "cyber sex it's super-duper safe / won't catch a social disease cyber-space / you won't care if i'm not neutered, i won't mind if you're not spayed / we don't need a virus check you know we've got it made." fucking kill me now. there's a way to be clever about social and technological change, but this is exactly the way not to do it.
    Rating: 1

    Randi Sherman

    Great great song, simply because it's funny and deals with current topics. I don't know if the soloist did it purposely, but he sounds like a "stereotypical" hacker on the computer. Except for an obvious range break, he did a great job on this song. It's got a great story, and the simple chords and "Supremes-like" chorus in the background are just what's needed. The ballad section in the middle is funny as the soloist laments for an "internet-wife".
    Rating: 9

    Ben Tritle

    Bobs-esque topic, looking for love in all the right circuits. Written and solo'ed by Eric Skalinder, I like this effort better than track #3. Very focused in the lyrics and music. Sounds like Eric is a hacker, lots of well placed references to computer-ese. What would happen if you placed a drum beat behind this? Possible candidate for Dr. Demento, maybe? Hmmmm.
    Rating: 9

    Shawn Pearce

    A non-comedy comedy song. This had to have been conceived as a joke song, but being an internet geek..it's not funny. The best parody songs are the ones that skewer the subjects to the point where they can't help but laugh, and it just doesn't get there. Makes me long for what would have happened if the Bobs went through this idea (maybe they did and I'm just not aware of it). As it stands, it's a really flat song ideawise...oddly enough, it's one of the better sung songs. Funny huh, as opposed to funny ha ha.
    Rating: 4

  12. Woods (4.6)
    Matt Cohen

    The verses are innocuous. The choruses help keep this song from being totally overlookable. Which is good, because if you stick around till the end, you'll get to hear a nice bridge.
    Rating: 5

    Gabriel Shabbtai Rutman

    blues original. let's see if four shadow can make it in a familiar and easy forum. the verdict: well, not really. i think one of the problems that we're dealing with throughout this album is a general averageness about the singers. there hasn't been a moment thus far on the album where i was like "ooh, that was really really good what he did right there.". if those moments just don't ever exist, there's something serious that must be approached, something on a very elemental level. and the pitch, by the way, kills on this one.
    Rating: 2

    Randi Sherman

    Another great bass line which adds to what would seem to be a fairly boring song. This song's tempo fits really well with the words; just like someone taking a stroll and talking about their problems. The sound gets too bright, and they need to darken their vowels. The thing that I like about this song is that it's really easy to mentally hear what instruments would sound like if they were the background instead of human voices as accompaniment. The biggest problem is that in the second section of the song, the new soloist has a grinding, loud voice, which sounds nothing like the rest of the song.
    Rating: 7

    Ben Tritle

    A calling for self-help/self-improvement...another focused effort lyrically. When Marc takes the lead, it turns into bass-heavy again. Intentional tempo change late in the song confused me (again). The blend isn't quite all there, maybe a little more production effort needed there.
    Rating: 6

    Shawn Pearce

    That bass again...nuff said. As for the song, it changes genres too much... to the point that the result is very jarring. Also, the interplay of the voices doesn't work somehow in this song, to the point where it sounds very empty.
    Rating: 3

  13. Pretty Little Angel Eyes (6.8)
    Matt Cohen

    A classic song. The arrangement has all the benefits of a more complex, modern arrangement, but they never do it at the expense of the '50s sound. A nice trick.
    Rating: 7

    Gabriel Shabbtai Rutman

    one of them old '50s one hit wonder tunes. blah. something interesting i noticed listening to this tune is that the bass in four shadow doesn't sound like a bass, but rather has much high end even in his lowest notes. oh well.
    Rating: 4

    Randi Sherman

    I have very limited knowledge of doo-wop music, but this definitely sounds like most doo-wop upbeat songs. But, they pull it off very well. Simple "doo-wop" accompaniment (duh) in the background, and the bright "ahs" with the walking bassline sound great. For what this song is supposed to be, a classic doo-wop song, it sounds great. The key change is crystal clear, and this song is definitely a foot tapper, even if you don't love doo-wop (like me).
    Rating: 9

    Ben Tritle

    An upbeat doo-wop song that is well done with provocative feeling, unlike Track #4. Eric Skalinder drives this well-balanced track, with help from a moving, though not overpowering bass line from Marc. Evokes memories of the prom scene in Back to the Future.
    Rating: 8

    Shawn Pearce

    Solid performance of a '50s style song. Fun to listen to, and a welcome change from the rest of the album's song styles. Not much to say other than that.
    Rating: 6

  14. What on Earth (4.6)
    Matt Cohen

    They create a nice atmosphere on this song, another obscure cover by a local band. You got to respect them for trying to broaden your musical spectrum. The song matches the group pretty well, all told.
    Rating: 6

    Gabriel Shabbtai Rutman

    uh, ok, i really have little to say about this tune except that it's really poorly mixed. kinda sweet solo, though.
    Rating: 4

    Randi Sherman

    My question is what on earth is this song doing on the CD? There's no country anywhere on this CD, and the bass and tenor in the beginning aren't in tune with each other. I'm not saying groups shouldn't try country a cappella, but this is one of those songs that should not be done a cappella. It has to have more than the boring chord changes in this bad country song.
    Rating: 2

    Ben Tritle

    Another lyrical "huh"? Didn't understand this song at all. I liked the musical feel and the arrangement. The blend was great, no overpowering part. One of those "Play in the background" songs...nice feel, just hard to understand.
    Rating: 7

    Shawn Pearce

    OK song, but again the execution suffers. The bass (can you tell how annoyed I am by this at this time). The voices aren't quite together either when they do the unison rhythm singing, which can be very jarring as well.
    Rating: 4

  15. Missionary Man (5.4)
    Matt Cohen

    Don't mess with the Eurythmics! This song gets of to a bad start. Very nasal singing, almost country-esq. They make up for it when then give bridge to the bass, who's in top form here. After a brief and ill advised bit that sounds like monkeys chanting, they quickly follow up the bass' section with some strait ahead harmony. Just when it's getting good, they suddenly switch to Sweet Dreams. Yes, they're both by the Eurythmics, but it's a non sequitur. They try to mesh the two songs together, which they do with some success. But the original entrance is still too jarring.
    Rating: 5

    Gabriel Shabbtai Rutman

    eurythmics tune, they employ some truly obnoxious syllables. baow baow baow! shit. maybe they do a ton of choreography or humor or something. they break into sweet dreams in the middle of this one, going back and forth between the two for a little bit in the middle. ok.
    Rating: 4

    Randi Sherman

    Cool, cool song, because it's got attitude. Tough, solid rhythms, with a really solid soloist. I really like the "laughing" as syllables. It's very creative. They took a rock song and kept it rock with little percussion, and very few chord progressions. The intertwining of Sweet Dreams in the middle was great. Completely unexpected, and the low Cs that the bass sing are impressive.
    Rating: 8

    Ben Tritle

    Cover of Eurythmics song...great arrangement for the number of voices they had to work with. First track with vocal percussion (whole album needed more), works well. Brief splice of Sweet Dreams interlaced, added nice color to the whole track. Sounds like they spent a lot of time on this track.
    Rating: 8

    Shawn Pearce

    Three words...it needs more. What it has is good, but you really need at least 2-3 more people to cover everything to make this song work (I ran into this with an eight person group that still needed some reworking to work). Also, the Sweet Dreams reference doesn't quite work here, and the song sounds like it would lack stage energy. And I flat out don't like the ending...very confusing song.
    Rating: 2

  16. You Gotta Be (6.4)
    Matt Cohen

    I'm sure there's a way to do this song a cappella. You can probably even to it with just four voices. But you'd need a different voice on the lead than the one features here. He tends to disappear on the verses, just like he did on track 3. His voice is pretty, but that's not enough — you gotta be bold, you gotta be strong. Their are some nice harmonies, very nice actually, but they don't make up for the lack of presence in the leads. They certainly don't make up for the parts where the arrangement tries to get more complex and only ends up sounding garbled and out of sync.
    Rating: 4

    Gabriel Shabbtai Rutman

    des'ree. what's pitiful is that this song (a pretty simple one, musically speaking) features some of the most complex chord changes and melodic lines on this entire album. even sadder, 'cause when i heard you gotta be the first time on the radio i was bored to tears by its simplicity and repetitiveness. somehow four shadow does avoid the repetitive bug, an admirable feat. the solo is mixed too low in many spots, as if he was not compressed. there're also strange rhythmic changes in the melody which were kinda buggin. oh well. this was actually one of my favorite tracks, featuring little to no pitch problems and not pretending or needing to be more than it is, just a cute little tune.
    Rating: 6

    Randi Sherman

    Very interesting take on a normally funky R&B song. I don't think I can review this song accurately, because I'm in an a cappella group, and not only do we do this song, but I'm the soloist. They overlap the verse with the chorus and the bridge, and amazingly enough, it works musically. I like that the soloist isn't the only one who uses the words throughout most of the song. The verse with just percussion and the soloist is missing a lot, but it's definitely better than repeating the same style from verse to verse. Some of their chords are simplified more than what is in the original, but it still works.
    Rating: 8

    Ben Tritle

    Cover of Des'ree song...background seems a little weaker, and in a rarity, not busy enough for this track. The subtlety that the original had seems slightly lost. That being said, Eric Skalinder does well with the material and the lead.
    Rating: 7

    Shawn Pearce

    VERY convincing lead by the male tenor. This song would rock with a vocal percussionist to drive it to a certain extent...but even without it, the arrangement is very good, and manages to invoke the feel of the original...the only cover other than Angel Eyes on this album to do so. If they wanted a solid way to end the album, this was the best thing they could do.
    Rating: 7

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