Letters

Letters 10-20-2014

Doctor Dan? After several email conversations with Rep. Benishek, he has confirmed that he doesn’t have a clue of what he does. Here’s why...

In Favor Of Our Parks [Traverse] City Proposal 1 is a creative way to improve our city parks without using our tax dollars. By using a small portion of our oil and gas royalties from the Brown Bridge Trust Fund, our parks can be improved for our children and grandchildren.

From January 1970 Popular Mechanics: “Drastic climate changes will occur within the next 50 years if the use of fossil fuels keeps rising at current rates.” That warning comes from Eugene K. Peterson of the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management.

Newcomers Might Leave: Recently we had guests from India who came over as students with the plan to stay in America. He has a master’s degree in engineering and she is doing her residency in Chicago and plans to specialize in oncology. They talked very candidly about American politics and said that after observing...

Someone Is You: On Sept 21, I joined the 400,000 who took to the streets of New York in the People’s Climate March, followed by a UN Climate Summit and many speeches. On October 13, the Pentagon issued a report calling climate change a significant threat to national security requiring immediate action. How do we move from marches, speeches and reports to meaningful work on this problem? In NYC I read a sign with a simple answer...

Necessary To Pay: Last fall, Grand Traverse voters authorized a new tax to fix roads. It is good, it is necessary.

The Real Reasons for Wolf Hunt: I have really been surprised that no one has been commenting on the true reason for the wolf hunt. All this effort has not been expended so 23 wolves can be killed each year. Instead this manufactured controversy about the wolf hunt has been very carefully crafted to get Proposal 14-2 passed.

Home · Articles · News · Music · A Changin‘ in the Wind:...
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A Changin‘ in the Wind: Splendid Havoc Switches Direction on New Album

Andy Taylor - July 22nd, 2004
Seeing a band grow, change and evolve their sound is always an exciting thing to witness when you are a fan. Even though you may still be attached to their old songs, and maybe are a little scared at the thought of impending change, a metamorphosis in music is usually a captivating thing to watch happen.
Splendid Havoc’s new album “Pasticcio” is the next step in the Traverse City band’s creative journey and offers a more diverse and pop-inflected group of songs than their past folk leanings. With a title like this (the word pasticcio means potpourri or a piece that is drawn from many sources), the listener can expect to be taken on a ride that will guide them through all sorts of musical areas. But for the most part the band stays within the boundaries of soft, adult rock, with few tendencies outside those lines.
This is a very mature sound that many adults would probably latch on to, and I can easily picture turning the dial on my radio and hearing this band played on WLDR. Any song from this CD would be at home on a station being played inbetween Wilson Phillips and Celine Dion.
Although the music is somewhat diverse on this album, the vocals tend to hold it all together with Michelle Socha’s very talented voice leading the way on seven of the nine songs. The harmonies are really strong on all of the tracks, but especially on the second song, “The Smile.” This song has a catchy melody and it is quite easy to see why radio stations like WTCM have started playing it. It has a nice Fleetwood Mac vibe going that Splendid Havoc should capitalize on more.
The production and arrangement on this album are quite strong. The band sounds tight and this is evidence of production skill since there are seven members in the band. With a number that high, it can become very easy for the record to have far too many layers on it and be cluttered. But it does not sound like that–therefore the band deserves kudos for restraint and not falling into a trap that many bands fall in.
The band is also very strong mechanically: they sound like well-trained vocalists and musicians. The problem may be that they play their instruments a little too well. There are no envelopes being pushed on this album. In other words the instruments stay in their role within the band and do not venture outside where they are supposed to be, sometimes to a fault.
These songs are all very safe. There is nothing that sets them apart, and this might actually say more about the entire adult-contemporary genre of music than it does about Splendid Havoc specifically. These songs sink too far into the background and do not demand the attention of the listener.
A great song in this genre is like a well-behaved little child; they are calm and quiet around you, but still desperately want your attention. None of these songs, except maybe “The Smile” and (because it is so different dynamically from the rest of the album) “It’s About . . .” ask to be taken to the park and be pushed on the swing.
Lyrically, many of these songs are a little cliché and kind of cheesy.
Case-in-point would be the song “A Little Ditty.” In one of the verses to the song, it states, “I went for a walk one afternoon/ I started to sing this little tune/ My feet caught a beat in 3/8 time/ and all my words just sort of rhymed.” Musically, “A Little Ditty” is pretty chill and has a cool lounge feel to it with some nice sounding piano in the background. There is some interplay between the vocals and the guitar that has potential to be really nice as well. But the laid back, mellow feel of the music is not enhanced by the really in-your-face bubbly-pop vocal lines. It is just too much for the mellow vibe in the music. This is what would happen if you put Hillary Duff with Ella Fitzgerald’s backing band. The two just don’t belong together.
On a side note, no one can fault a band for being socially conscious.
God knows that we need more musicians who are concerned with what is going on in the world and want to use their art to make a difference. Splendid Havoc should be encouraged for being concerned about the victims of terrorism, but do we really need yet another 9/11 tribute song? There was a flood of them in music a couple of years ago, even to the point where it seemed like record labels were using the tragedy as a moneymaker. So it seems unnecessary to have another tribute song, called “Standing” on this album, three years after the horrible event actually happened. How about a tribute to the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo where over three million of them have died in a war that is still going since its beginning, over six years ago? A lot of people seem to ignore tragedies that don’t happen on American soil.
There are only two songs on here that are not upbeat, feel-good tunes, so even though there is a lot of diversity in the style of music offered on this disc, they don’t sound as different as you might think because they are almost all very similar in the mood of the music. Splendid Havoc is a band that is comprised of very gifted musicians. Unfortunately though, it is the creative nature of their sound that is lacking. Many bands are not out to influence music and be different, and there is nothing wrong with that. But it is possible to write pop songs and still be different, and therefore that is something to strive for, but you just don’t hear that in this music.
 
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