Here Comes The Sharp Things

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Lydia Vanderloo
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 ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Lydia Vanderloo
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.
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.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 11/26/2002
  • Label: The Orchard
  • UPC: 803680233825
  • Catalog Number: 802338

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
Al Houghton Engineer
Paul Andrew Contributor
Charles Waters Contributor
Oscar Wilde Author
John Hancock Mastering
Ken Heitmuller Mastering
Nate Wooley Contributor
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