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Extra Blue Kind
by Rob Nipe

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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 now." 

Brilliant.

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

Label:Opulent Records
Rating:

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