Sharon Hagopian, the musician behind the Cannonball Jane identity, takes a route
for her solo project that few other like-minded musicians have tread. Instead of
focusing on her voice - which is quite nice and fits perfectly in her chosen
course - and guitar as some singer/songwriters choose, she has created an album
of upbeat, danceable electro-pop. And she's performed every instrument on it
herself, composing all the beats, samples, and synths, adding her voice overtop
to finish it off.
"Hey! Hey! Alright!" is
suitably named, as this fast-paced song has that repeated chorus throughout.
"Taxi" reminds me of Luscious Jackson, with its bigger beats and samples and
funky vocal style. "Brave New World" is perhaps the album's most aggressive
song. With edgy guitars and up-tempo beats, it sounds more like a mid-90s rock
song, especially in its shouted chorus. Along those same lines, "Let's Go!" is a
great rock song, certainly the one with the best chorus and the most guitars.
This is the song I find myself singing long after the album is over.
While much of the album is focused on the lively, upbeat songs, I find the slower, more experimental songs more intriguing. The album starts with the slick and sweet "Slumber Party," riding light beats and some playful samples. "Such is the Score" has a kind of groove to it, and Hagopian's voice goes from an almost-rapped chorus to singing sweetly, with the vocals layered. And there's even an almost trip-hop feel to "Add a Wrap." My favorite is the surprisingly playful "Automatic Knockout," a sweet song that rides a repetitive flute loop and the sound of hand claps.
What may be missed on
this album is the production values. It says a lot that Hagopian was able to
combine these sounds so effortlessly and mix her vocals perfectly. It definitely
sounds like a band, not a single musician, and in that the production values -
while suitably lo-fi in parts - shine. And Hagopian's voice is perfect, sweet at
times, edgy at others, and always supporting these short but catchy songs. At
not quite 30 minutes, this is a fun album to say the least.
Delusions of Adequacy - November 17, 2003