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The Bristol Suspensions

University of Bristol

Everything Everything Medley - Single (2017)

3.0

Review By Dom Otto Asís

January 27, 2017

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The Bristol Suspensions present us with a medley of songs from the Manchester band Everything Everything, which the Suspensions describe as an "experimental addition to their repertoire". The Suspensions were champions in The Voice Festival UK in 2016 where they performed this song, and there are a few good points about this medley: the smooth transitions, the crisp recording, and the vocal arrangement that is almost similar to those Bellas finals medleys we hear in Pitch Perfect movies.

Everything Everything's songs are easy choices since the original tracks are already harmonized. On the arrangement front, this is the collaborative work of Scott Lechleiter and Adam Stanford — a good team up of the vocal percussionist and the bass, who are usually the main drivers in any a cappella performance. Though my favorite part in the arrangement is when the ladies sing the arpeggios in the background vocals. 

However, there are other factors that affect the listening experience for this a cappella medley. Solo choices are one of the most important parts of a cappella arranging, and vocal abilities should meet the demands of the track. (e.g. That last "If it's gonna happen, let it happen now" could have sounded better if sung by a tenor soloist who could belt that high note convincingly.) Next, the singing needs a bit more punch to emphasize passages that need a marcato delivery. One good example is at the begining "Wait a second" and "I'm coming alive, I'm happening now" where it needs a timing issue fix. I may sound pedantic by pointing these things out, but such nuances are important elements in a recording — otherwise, a track simply doesn't reach its potential. If the soloists had owned their parts and if attention had been paid to the lyrical emphasis, the interpretation could have sounded more convincing in its performance. I also find it anticlimactic when transitions fluctuate from fast-slow-fast-slow songs in this arrangement. And lastly, the coda feels like an abrupt ending that implies the arrangers just ran out of ideas and decided to cut it like that.

The musical demands of this arrangement need a little more work from the group to make it sound better. But other than issues in the soloists' performances, it's still an alright musical experience. It takes a lot of talent to pull off an a cappella medley like this. The group just needs to focus on being performing artists, rather than merely singing the notes of the arrangement.

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