Hey Eugene!

Hey Eugene!

3.7 8
by Pink Martini
     
 

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The bohemian "small orchestra" out of Portland, Oregon, returns, and as we've come to expect from Pink Martini, Hey Eugene! is a kaleidoscope of retro song styles. Assaying swing, samba, Latin pop, and Japanese noir, among other moods, the classically trained 14-piece remains something of a Douglas Sirk production for your ears. The most notable leap on the…  See more details below

Overview

The bohemian "small orchestra" out of Portland, Oregon, returns, and as we've come to expect from Pink Martini, Hey Eugene! is a kaleidoscope of retro song styles. Assaying swing, samba, Latin pop, and Japanese noir, among other moods, the classically trained 14-piece remains something of a Douglas Sirk production for your ears. The most notable leap on the group's third album is that it marks their most extensive original songwriting, with mixed results. The title track, written by chanteuse China Forbes, is an exuberant horn-driven burst of soul-pop that's become a staple of their live show, but "Dosvedanya, Mio Bombino," co-written by Forbes's sister Maya, is almost a Pink Martini parody, mashing up Russian and Italian in a labored number that's a little too in love with its own cleverness. Similar over-thinking threatens the Arabic plaint "Bukra wba'do," but the Martini's strings are put to such good use in this wacky Cairo film song (made famous by Abdel Halim Hafez) that it's hard to fault it or the political overtones that seem to have been its inspiration. The album works best on tried-and-true Martini-isms -- read: Carmen Miranda, here represented by the moody samba "Tempo Perdido," and French cabaret ditties such as "Ojala." Likewise, when the band lure Little Jimmy Scott to duet with China Forbes on "Tea for Two," the textures are so lush and perfect that all that other tinny drivel competing for your eardrums seems to just melt away.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Jeff Tamarkin
It took Pink Martini a full decade -- their debut, Sympathique, came out in 1997; the follow-up, Hang on Little Tomato, was released in 2004; and now Hey Eugene! arrives in 2007 -- but they've finally perfected their particular good-time blend of cabaret pop, pre-"world music" international fare, golden-age Hollywood scores, and lounge-informed, classy jazz. It's still tempting to be wary of a group that wears its eclecticism so ostentatiously on its sleeve, but in the end nothing about the Oregon-based Pink Martini feels pretentious or mannered. While there is more than a taste of the tongue-in-cheek to China Forbes' vocals, Pink Martini, a dozen strong, never come off as precious or stylized, as did so many of the bands that came along during the '90s lounge revival and then disappeared from the planet. While on one hand they fine-tune what it is they do, Pink Martini also expand their focus on their third album. The Latin elements of the first two albums are still present, no more so than on "Tempo Perdido," a samba-rhumba written by Ataulfo Alves, originally sung by Carmen Miranda and abetted here by a high-school choir, but the group's passport has many new stamps on it. "Bukra Wba'do," originally sung by Egyptian star Abdel Halim Hafez, is PM's first foray into the world of Arabic music, and the foamy "Taya Tan" is a sweet but somewhat foreboding Japanese pop confection. "Ojala" takes the group into French chanson; "Dosvedanya Mio Bombino," obviously, leans Russian (great line: "I tried to storm the Kremlin of your heart"), but not so obviously also tilts toward various other Latinstrains from samba to son, which are touched upon elsewhere. Alternating between English (a touching, minimal "Tea for Two" with vocal jazz legend Jimmy Scott guesting; the opening, Forbes/Lauderdale-penned "Everywhere," a lush '40s-style torch song that could just as easily have been an old Judy Garland or Peggy Lee hit) and foreign-language vocals, Forbes is at ease in any situation. Bandleader/founder Thomas Lauderdale has become a masterful helmsman, guiding the core orchestra through its tricky, subtle paces. Ironically, the title track is the least interesting thing here, a slow-jam R&B bird-flip to a guy who took the singer's number and never bothered to call. Such silliness isn't becoming of the talent and originality on display all over Hey Eugene!, and they'd be wise to stick to the globe-hopping and genre-splicing in the future without resorting to downtown-styled faux coolness.

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Product Details

Release Date:
05/15/2007
Label:
Heinz Records
UPC:
0723721289454
catalogNumber:
3
Rank:
46720

Related Subjects

Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Pink Martini   Primary Artist
Little Jimmy Scott   Vocals
Phil Baker   Acoustic Guitar,Rhythm Guitar,Baglama,Upright Bass
Robert Taylor   Trombone,Trumpet
Ruby Jones   Track Performer
Dieter Ratzlaf   Cello
Aaron Scott   Choir, Chorus
China Forbes   Tambourine,Vocals
Tracey Harris   Background Vocals,Soloist
Joël Belgique   Viola
Dan Faehnle   Guitar,Guitar (Nylon String)
Gavin Bondy   Trumpet,Vocals,Background Vocals
Thomas Lauderdale   Piano
Ashley Ward   Vocals,Bells
Eric Miller   Trumpet,Vocals
Kian Smith   Track Performer
Mike Horsfall   Vibes
Janesia Allen   Harp
Brant Taylor   Cello
Martin Zarzar   Dumbek,Percussion,Bongos,Conga,Cymbals,Drums,Rhythm Guitar,Timbales,Choir, Chorus,Timpani,Cavaquinho,Cajon,Guira,Riqq
Michelle Brown   Track Performer
Mozelle Lewis   Track Performer
Brian Davis   Percussion,Conga,Choir, Chorus,Surdo,Tamborim
Cedric D. Johnson   Track Performer
Marisa Barela   Choir, Chorus
Matt Moor   Trumpet,Vocals
Taylor Aglipay   Baritone Saxophone,Vocals
Heather Blackburn   Cello
Julie Coleman   Violin
Paloma Griffin   Violin,Vocals
Phil Hansen   Cello
Denise Huizenga   Violin
Maureen Love   Harp
Timothy Nishimoto   Percussion,Vocals,Choir, Chorus
Charles Noble   Viola
Derek Rieth   Percussion,Bongos,Conga,Maracas,Tambourine,Triangle,Vocals,Choir, Chorus,Caxixi,Pandeiro,Shaker,Tamborim
Daniel Lamb   Trombone,Vocals
Jason Wells   Vocals
Janet Andrews   Choir, Chorus
John Averill   Vocals,Bandleader
Ivory Johnson   Track Performer
Patrick Abbey   Choir, Chorus
Jessica Bonim   Choir, Chorus
Danny Bostic   Track Performer
Hadassah Boyd   Track Performer
Miriam Burke   Choir, Chorus
Ashleigh Callier Wells   Track Performer
Celeste Calvin   Track Performer
Jamilah Cash   Track Performer
Katherine Cliff   Track Performer
Nicholas Crosa   Violin,Vocals,Choir, Chorus
Shurlanda Davis   Track Performer
Jenny DiDonato   Snare Drums
Gregory Ewer   Violin
Joy Fabos   Violin
Charles Fuller   Choir, Chorus
Yvonne Gay   Track Performer
William Giles   Choir, Chorus
Brandon Hatton   Track Performer
Don Henson-Blankenship   Glockenspiel
Dan Herrick   Cymbals,Vocals
Nakia Holste   Track Performer
Robert Taylor   Trombone
Pansy Chang   Cello
Jennifer Arnold   Viola

Technical Credits

Vincent Youmans   Composer
Phil Baker   Composer,Producer
Irving Caesar   Composer
Frédéric Chopin   Composer
Dave Friedlander   Engineer,Vocal Engineer,Guitar Engineer,Drum Engineering
China Forbes   Composer,Producer,Audio Production
Henri Salvador   Composer
Bernard Dimey   Composer
Thomas Lauderdale   Audio Production
Dean Baskerville   Engineer
Daniel Lemay   Composer
Martin Zarzar   Composer
Timothy Nishimoto   Composer

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Hey Eugene! 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
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