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Album Review

THE LO & BEHOLDS
Wild Choirs

I've been listening to this CD for over two months and just realized that it is an EP. Only five tracks! I could have sworn there were more. Then again, they must be good enough because they have been getting steady airplay since I received the CD, an attempt to loose some decent words from the dungeon that is my mind. It probably didn't work, but what the hell--- here goes.

My first thought: The Lo & Beholds need a new vocalist. My second thought: Why don't I do myself a favor and just do away with first thoughts? While it may be true that Jason Rudisill has a voice slightly outside the norm, and I haven't quite yet put my finger on exactly why that is, it is a voice as crucial to the sound of The Lo & Beholds as is Jud Norman's to the Research Turtles and Michael Rafferty's to The Minnows, two other shining examples why music is not dead in spite of what you read in the media. Not even close.

Whereas The Minnows and Research Turtles share a bedrock of Pop and Power Pop (one listen to RT's Let's Get Carried Away and The Minnows' Roonkin made me a fan for life), The Lo & Beholds step outside that realm, using a solid rhythm section (Ladies and Gentlemen, Garrett Herzfeld on drums! Andy Cummins on bass!) and two guitars which alternate between total synchronization and seemingly cacophonic guitar battles of fierce intensity, and those battles beneath verse and chorus and not just during bridge or break! I don't have to tell guitarists how hard that can be, but for those who are not musicians, trust me. It is at the very least complicated when done right. And Patrick Goley and Sprad Spradling do it right and then some.

But let us return to my first thought. The music would not be the same without Jason Rudisill and for two reasons. One, his voice is unique and fits the sound of the band to a 'T'. Second, his voice doubles as rhythm on certain songs and at times it is crucial. Sure, the lyrics are there, but you notice the rhythm more than the words, at first at least--- the way the words are presented, if you will. All five songs on Wild Choirs rely on his phrasing and he nails it on all five. That's hitting a thousand, to use a sports metaphor.

The most dynamic of the five, to me, is the towering Dynamite. Layered guitars and explosive but intricate rhythms give Rudisill all he needs and he makes the best of it. Add a manic semi-spoken word background voice and you have the makings of something really special. This is powerful stuff.

I wish I could describe the sound. At moments it sounds like mid-Rush with a different vocalist and the guitars for short bursts are just short of Quicksilver in the way that they play over and under one another at the drop of a beat. Truth is, they are all over the place in what they do but it doesn't take you long to get it. It is good--- really good and when push comes to shove, that's all that really matters.

Use the links. Head to their MySpace page. Listen to the music. Hearing is believing. I heard. I believe.

Frank O. Gutch Jr.

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