Extra Blue Kind
by Rob Nipe
Marcy's Playground was very big. I know
it is hard to believe looking at the group now but there was a time when
you couldn't escape "Sex and Candy" if you wanted to. It was everywhere.
And that wasn't a bad thing. That was a good song. People dug it. Great.
But the problem the band ran into was an inability to break free from that
sound enough to create songs that were unique. And-barring the super album
that band might yet record-I wonder if we will ever hear from them again.
The reason I bring up Marcy's Playground
in an Extra Blue Kind review is that I think there is a long lost brother
thing going on with the singers. The album opens with "Make Yourself Useless"
and I was sitting there scratching my head trying to figure out what sounded
so familiar. Bam. It was the vocals. Seriously, brothers of different mothers
kind of stuff.
What differentiates the two bands though
is Extra Blue Kind's willingness to be more. While I realize that Marcy's
Playground never sat down and said 'Hey, you know that great song we do,
we should do more songs like that one. Let's make a whole album like that.
It is the song so nice you could hear it like…twelve times.', their end
result kind of says otherwise. On the other side of the coin, Extra Blue
Kind explodes onto this album, touching a wide variety of styles. The album
opens with "Make Yourself Useless". The guitar plays slowly strummed chords
over a driving drum roll and then P. Handy, the lead singer comes in with
all of his "I'm-not-from-Marcy's-Playground"-ness. "Does it matter now?/
Does it matter?/ Does it matter now what you did then?" Handy's questions
shake apart my feeble attempts to trace the lineage between the two bands
and even go so far as to turn this pigeon holing back on myself. "Where
is the proof you exist?/ There is no meaning in this./ The useful just
get used so make yourself useless, make yourself useless."
You could almost hear the middle finger
getting flicked. Ouch.
The second song, "You Came Crashing", though
just adds fuel to my fire. This song could have literally been taken off
the Marcy's Playground's first album. It maintains this feeling with the
exception of the chorus. Imagine, if you will, M's P but just turned up
to "11". Then the third track comes, a twenty second ditty called "Out
of My Hands." We hear Handy saying "Dark." followed by each part of the
band messing around on their instruments-independent of each other-ending
abruptly with Handy singing "You make it so dark." And the next song starts.
This track lets the listener know that the coddling is over. The first
two songs are there to connect with the listener and from here on out,
Extra Blue Kind is playing what they want. And-in what I think is possibly
one of the funniest moments in music-the fourth track is entitled "The
Art of Disconnect" and Handy keeps singing that "it is out of his hands
And the rest of this album just continues
to impress me. I only listen to about thirty seconds of an album before
I ask to review it. And sometimes I choose wisely and sometimes I'm way
off. This album happily fell into the "choose wisely" category and to the
top of that category. This album is one of the most pleasant experiences
I've had to date and I've got think that other bands-like the one I've
mentioned far too often this review-would do well to look at a band like
Extra Blue Kind to see what to do right.
CD Info and Links
Extra Blue Kind - The Tide and the Undertow
and Purchase This CD Online
the official homepage
articles for this artist
a friend about this review