Smoothing across genres like a skater on ice, Ed Hale shows amazing songwriting skills throughout Rise and Shine. Leading a band made up of himself (vocals/vox, guitars, keyboards), Stro (acoustic/electric bass, keyboards, background vox), Jon Rose (keyboards, background vox), Ricardo Mazzi (drums) and Duane Allen (roaring guitars), they have just released a debut on TMG Records that is one I can not listen to less than twice a week at current. They have been gathering a following all over the Miami area even prior to this release - and it's well deserved.
Fusing such styles as Brazilian, r&b, rock, new wave and classical - among others - Ed Hale and Transcendence create a wild array of songs but somehow hold them together with left-field bite. The only others that have this strong genre-stepping style are such notables as Smashmouth and Jim's Big Ego. Lyrics are very well written and witty. Ironically arranged verbige sends a bite of sarcasm throughout Rise and Shine. The upbeat yet morbid Paris, for example - with its "I bet you could tell she was mine all along" shouted out to a lover's new beau. The violin solo in the center of the song is a great addition and shows the technical prowess of Ed Hale with classical flair.
Mother is a favorite of mine. Its well placed anger and bitter-charged words I've come to enjoy and sometimes associate with. A very striking song. The Incidental Music breaks spread smoothly between songs. The alterna-rock straight-up style of Love is You makes me think of JackieOnAssid for its purity. As I read over this review I'm noticing that I'm making a lot of comparisons of this group to others. So I guess if you get confused just think that we're taking out all the best parts of the bands I mentioned, putting them in a blender and mixing ourselves a straight pop-rock shooter with a dash of absinthe.
A word must be mentioned about the liner notes that accompany this CD. Stylish, wonderful artwork throughout and a multi-page collection of writings from Ed on the journey of the album. I haven't been impressed more by a writer/musician combination since John Ludi. The booklet of course includes full lyrics. Even the Thank You page is as good a read as the rest of the notes - true class and a great wordsmith. This shows in his lyrics throughout Rise and Shine of course.
On the downside, Ed and the guys may sometimes push the left-fieldedness over the top in places - such as an industrial-style riff placement in the center of The Journey which I could have lived without - but thankfully it's over quick like a bad lay and the song continues its funky rhythmed form. There are other little over-the-top nuances throughout, but not enough to detract much from the album as a whole.
This record is beginning to become widely available since it was picked up by Alliance Entertainment. It also boasts radio spots over the country and the group are planning an east coast tour as well. So watch for these guys. Make sure you keep an eye out for them and maybe we'll get lucky enough to have them visit further north up the coastline.
Post: TMG Records Miami, 1521 Alton Road #512, Miami Beach, FL, 33139
Post: TMG Records NY, 405 E 51st St. #2D, New York, NY, 10022
Phone: (800) 827-7763
Fax: (305) 438-0010
Web: http://www.tmgrecords.net & http://www.transcendence.com