The English duo of Everything but the Girl started out as a quiet coffeehouse kind of act — a guy strumming guitar, a girl crooning at the microphone. But the band found its biggest success 10 years ago when someone put a beatbox and some percolating keyboard chords behind their song "Missing" ("and I miss you/like the deserts miss the rain").
Suddenly the folky duo was a danceclub sensation. They've never quite matched the success of that song, but the band has continued to record, perform, and feature remixes of its material over the past decade, some of which can now be found on the collection Adapt or Die: Ten Years of Remixes on Atlantic/Sire Records.
The latest collection of pop singles in Epic Records' "Now" series is on the shelves. Now That's What I Call Music! 18 features U2's "Vertigo," Gwen Stefani's "What Are You Waiting For?" Howie Day's "Collide," Lenny Kravitz's "Lady" and Chingy's "Balla Baby" as well as tracks from Lindsay Lohan, Snoop Dogg, Destiny's Child, Hoobastank, Skye Sweetnam, Keith Urban and more.
Who's Got Trouble?
Back in 1999, Shivaree, fronted by the entrancing Ambrosia Parsley, debuted with its saucy Capitol release, I Oughtta Give You a Shot in the Head For Making Me Live in This Dump. Its quirky dark humor and offbeat retro music didn't exactly make it a pop smash, but its spooky single "Goodnight Moon" got some airplay and was revived last year by Quentin Tarantino for the Kill Bill 2 soundtrack.
Despite critical success in the U.S., and a solid buzz across the ocean, the band's 2002 album got lost in the record company shuffle and never was given a domestic release.
Last spring, thanks to the renewed exposure the band got from Tarantino, Parsley ended up creating the unique "Ambrosia Sings the News" segment for the new "Air America Radio" network, and this spring, a half-million albums sold 'round the world. Shivaree returns to the domestic CD racks with Who's Got Trouble?
This time, don't miss them. They return with slinky grooves irresistably intact.
Ambrosia Parsley has one of the most sultry, come-hither voices in music today, and her band backs her on Who's Got Trouble? through a collection of loungy jazz, slinky pop and swampy spooky waltz.
Every song on Who's Got Trouble? sounds like a lost gem from the days of "Casablanca" (hence the title of their first single) performed by a band of gleam-in-the-eye young turks (who else gets away with singing lines like "I'm looking for a moonbeam to get lost in" anymore?).
The CD leads off with "New Casablanca," a piano-plunking, cymbal-rich plea for rescue by a "handsome buckaroo." Parsley intones:
"who's got trouble
we've got trouble
go ahead make mine a double …
I'm in a state and I just can't wait."
That's just the beginning of a sultry reprise of those black and blue late-night smoky lounge days. "I'm lost in a dream/sweet and double cream … I'm looking for a melody to hold me/waiting for the orchestra to play" Parsley croons in the Tin Pan Alley-esque, thumping bass ballad "Lost in a Dream."
And the throbbing bass and ghostly strings of "Little Black Mess" offset a finger-snapping litany of life-gone-wrong events detailed by the sultry singer. Then there's the science fiction slipstream story of "The Fat Lady of Limbourg" where, over a staccato guitar scratch and a relentless bassline, Parsley tells of a woman with a surreal "sense of taste."
Parsley and her band do no wrong on Who's Got Trouble?
This is a smart, sharp CD of classic-derived grooves, finger snaps and croons, lavished by a band that knows its retro from now.