16 Songs, 1 Hour 8 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

With all the electronic wizardry available these days, hearing the human voice in its purest, unadulterated form can be a revelatory experience. Ben Folds has always written highly melodic material that’s centered on his pop instincts and his spastic piano bounce. But here his songs are brought to life by pure vocal ensembles that emphasize both his strong lead lines and the intricacies layered underneath. With music programs across the country suffering budgetary cutbacks, it’s encouraging to find projects with both commercial potential and the ability to inspire others to become involved. Ben Folds recruited these various groups — from The Spartones of Greensboro, NC to The Sacramento State Jazz Singers to The University of Rochester Midnight Ramblers — and recorded them with six area mics. Each group brings a sweet, participatory experience, turning Folds’ pop into songs that could’ve survived the street corners of doo-wop from a culture long past. Hearing Folds’ “Brick” recreated solely through vocal accompaniment is ear-opening and Folds himself joins in with instrument free versions of “Effington” and “Boxing.” Fun throughout.

EDITORS’ NOTES

With all the electronic wizardry available these days, hearing the human voice in its purest, unadulterated form can be a revelatory experience. Ben Folds has always written highly melodic material that’s centered on his pop instincts and his spastic piano bounce. But here his songs are brought to life by pure vocal ensembles that emphasize both his strong lead lines and the intricacies layered underneath. With music programs across the country suffering budgetary cutbacks, it’s encouraging to find projects with both commercial potential and the ability to inspire others to become involved. Ben Folds recruited these various groups — from The Spartones of Greensboro, NC to The Sacramento State Jazz Singers to The University of Rochester Midnight Ramblers — and recorded them with six area mics. Each group brings a sweet, participatory experience, turning Folds’ pop into songs that could’ve survived the street corners of doo-wop from a culture long past. Hearing Folds’ “Brick” recreated solely through vocal accompaniment is ear-opening and Folds himself joins in with instrument free versions of “Effington” and “Boxing.” Fun throughout.

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