Friday, April 02, 2010

FDF Volume 2 Issue 179: 10,000 Maniacs - In My Tribe

By: March

Album - In My Tribe
Artist - 10,000 Maniacs
Key Players - Jerome Augustyniak - drums, percussion. Steven Gustafson - bass. Dennis Drew - keyboards. Robert Buck - guitar, mandolin, pedal steel. Natalie Merchant - vocals.
Produced By - Peter Asher

Release Date - July 7, 1987

What caused me to blow off the dust? - Just was looking for something most wouldn't expect from me on this site. Gotta keep it diverse right?

Overview - Second major label release from the New York based band 10,000 Maniacs. The album would peak on the US charts at 37, but it would remain on the charts for 77 weeks. The album would go on to reach double platinum (2million copies sold) in the United States. The band would continue to work for a few more years before singer Natalie Merchant left the band to peruse a solo career. The band continues with new members.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - The drums roll across before the full band comes in "What's the Matter Here?" The feeling is pretty laid back, but each instrument is full in the mix. Merchant has a unique sounds to her voice, she can hit the ranges, but at times comes across as a baritone singer. The track was a single to radio and is a good lead off track on the record, as it has a pleasant overall sound and tempo. Even in the later verses the band changes the tempo and has more of an instrumental breakdown before the drums click it all back in line. Merchant pushes herself vocally as the song draws to a close. "Hey Jack Kerouac" opens up a bit more frantic musically, but quickly settles down. Merchant is the focus as Buck lays down a smooth guitar line. The bass and drums keep everyone in check and the song is one of the stand outs on the record. "Like the Weather" was another strong single from the record. Opening with a single guitar run before the full band comes in. The listener can hear the hand claps and percussion on this track. It has a little more a feel like the first song on the record, but doesn't really break the mold. You get strong vocals and equally as strong musical background. We get our first real guitar solo from Buck after the 3 minute mark of the track before returning to the chorus and the song wraps up. The drums get everything moving on "Cherry Tree" a track that has some chiming guitar lines before the vocals begin. The band doesn't waste a lot of time before the vocals come in and the band continues to impress playing as a tight and cohesive unit. The drums come up strong, but it falls to be a more mellow affair on "The Painted Desert". The guitar portion sounds pretty making way for the hard hitting back beat (for a mellower track it stands out all the more). Merchant continues to shine vocally and the band allows her to take the lead where she wants getting only louder when needed. Yet another familiar song to many is "Don't Talk" which is next. Gustafson has his bass line up front with the full drum kit work out from Augustyniak while Buck puts a chorus laden guitar riff over them. The segment works well so the band repeats it, but just that right amount to not bore the listener or themselves. "Gun Shy" is a little laid back once more. The drum sticks click off the snare as Buck works the guitar. After the verse nears completion the full band comes in. We also get a an organ/keyboard section. This was the first time in a few tracks I even remembered they had a keyboard player honestly. The band gets a lot more fun sounding on "My Sister Rose". It is a bubbly dancy track from the band. It actually is a welcome change of pace with splashes of horns and more of a fun back beat. Too little too late? "A Campfire Song" opens strong coming off the prior track, but it fails to really grab you. Per the norm the vocals and instruments are all "fine" and that is just it, its "fine". You can really hear the mandolin at the start of "City of Angels" and with the build up you'd expect a pretty up tempo track, but the band settles back in to a more laid back approach. Dunno, it keeps leaving me wanting more. The album closes with "Verdi Cries" a piano lead track with a solo Merchant. It is later filled out with strings and it is a pretty and nice album closer.

Where are they now?
- The band continues in name to this day with Augustyniak, Drew and Gustafson all members. Robert Buck died of liver failure on December 19, 2000. He was 42. Natalie Merchant left the band in 1993 to work on her solo career and has gone on to release four solo records, with a fifth slated for an April 2010 release.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - The only time I saw the band was July 7, 1993 at what is now the Comcast Center. My girlfriend at the time (now wife) was big in to them and we had really only started dating earlier that year so I figured it was worth heading to. It was an okay show, I've never been all that in to them. World Party were the opening band and I recall hearing they played their opening slot, then went to Boston to play a club show (at I think Bunratty's in Allston).

FDF Overall Take - Well I haven't missed this record all that much. The band is decent, but for some reason Merchants vocals get to me quicker than I recall. The thing is, she is not a "bad" singer, but there is just something there. As a collection it is a pretty strong record and really is something I'd consider more background music than much else.


The band has an official site here.
You can read what Natalie is up to on her site here

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

mp3's removed...
My Sister Rose
Hey Jack Kerouac

Tracks taken from "In My Tribe" which you can buy here.

Disclaimer - For the most part songs listed you can find on iTunes or your local cd shop. The idea is to give you a little taste of the music. Please support the artist buy purchasing some of their work. Songs are posted for about 1 week but can and will be removed at the request of the artist, band, band management etc. If you are one of those persons contact me via the email link in the profile and they will be removed as soon as we are made aware of the request.


At 5:33 PM, Blogger Jenny G said...

Yes, Natalie's voice is definitely an acquired taste.


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