Here Comes The Sharp Things

Here Comes The Sharp Things

by The Sharp Things
     
 

New York City group the Sharp Things take the "orch-pop" label to heart on their debut album. Their ranks numbering 11 players -- including two violinists, a cellist, and a guy splitting his time between trumpet and flugelhorn -- the band proffer a set of classically styled yet plainly rendered soft-rock. The musical locus is singer-songwriter Perry Serpa, who lays… See more details below

Overview

New York City group the Sharp Things take the "orch-pop" label to heart on their debut album. Their ranks numbering 11 players -- including two violinists, a cellist, and a guy splitting his time between trumpet and flugelhorn -- the band proffer a set of classically styled yet plainly rendered soft-rock. The musical locus is singer-songwriter Perry Serpa, who lays the groundwork with a heart-on-sleeve delivery, aching lyrics, and arrangements based on guitar and piano. Serpa's minor-key laments suit his deep, sultry voice, so wistful lines such as, "And I thought that we might be one" (from the melancholy "Right") come off with grace and sincerity. His guitar- and piano-playing underpins these 11 songs but works on equal footing with work of the other instrumentalists, making for a rich, even-keeled sound that spotlights Serpa's lyrics and voice, which is akin to a cheerier Scott Walker. "Boys Club" takes a folksy, Dylanesque turn, with casually strummed acoustic guitars, shuffling drums, and piano, yet Serpa's croon suggests velvety, latter-day Neil Sedaka more than it does a gruff young Bob. "Lament/A Million Things" plays like a mini symphony, allowing each instrument -- from violin to electric guitar -- its moment in the sun and pillow-soft female backing vocals providing an effective counterpoint to Serpa's pining lead. Their elements and influences align them with contemporary acts such as High Llamas, Eric Matthews, and Archer Prewitt -- artists who augment their four-piece rock lineups with strings, brass, and keyboards. But the end result on this first-time outing find these Sharp Things defining their own sensibility with clarity.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Charles Spano
Perry Serpa and his band the Sharp Things craft a grandiose pop vibe -- part Scott Walker, part Elvis Costello -- on their debut, Here Comes the Sharp Things. Like Walker, Serpa's vocals are deep and grandiose, and his songwriting ranges from the Dylanesque "Boy's Club," to the straight-out-of-the-Bacharach-songbook "Vacationing." Serpa's influences make him the perfect American counterpart to Neil Hannon of England's the Divine Comedy, and the Sharp Things debut plays nicely as a companion to the Divine Comedy's Promenade. Less dark than Mercury Rev, less unhinged than the Flaming Lips, the Sharp Things' straightforward bombast sounds strange when compared to their contemporaries, but this record would have gone over big in the late '60s -- remember, Scott Walker's fan club at one point had more members than the Beatles' did. Still, beautifully arranged pop-folk, like the soaring, Bowie-esque "Lies About You and I," is timeless, and true fans of the genre will find this obscure gem and simply wear their copy out by playing it constantly.

Product Details

Release Date:
11/26/2002
Label:
The Orchard
UPC:
0803680233825
catalogNumber:
802338

Related Subjects

Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

The Sharp Things   Primary Artist
John Dunbar   Organ
Perry Serpa   Acoustic Guitar,Piano,Vocals
Janet Treadaway   Bass,Background Vocals
Jim Santo   Guitar,Background Vocals
Steve Gonzalez   Percussion,Drums
Avishai Cohen   Viola,Background Vocals
Janis Shen   Violin
Aisha Cohen   Viola,Background Vocals
Mike "Sport" Murphy   Penny Whistle,Lu-sheng
Steven Gonzalez   Percussion,Drums
Michelle Caputo   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar
Brian McWhorter   Trumpet,Flugelhorn

Technical Credits

Jim Santo   Producer
Perry Serpa   Producer
Houghton   Engineer
Paul Andrew   Contributor
Charles Waters   Contributor
Oscar Wilde   Author
John Hancock   Mastering
Ken Heitmuller   Mastering
Nate Wooley   Contributor

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