Reviews

Big Day

 

Released December 1999

"To borrow a phrase from Nick Lowe, the new Bandees CD, "BIG DAY", is pure pop for now people. Dees and company have distilled a range of influences: Bowie, a touch of Tom Petty, synth pop, the Police, the Byrds, the Monkees, and the vibe and energy of New Wave (without the gee-whiz goofy feel of a lot of that era). Yet, by the end of the "BIG DAY," the Bandees, eclectic but seamless pop-rock emerges all new millennium fresh, original and shiny."
[Rick de Yampert, Entertainment Writer - The News Journal]

"A colorful palette of styles blending harmoniously together to produce a CD masterpiece. This music rocks the soul. The Bandees "BIG DAY" could be a hit for the millennium, hell, it would have been a hit in any of the last three decades."
[Joseph Skinner, President - Trackspotting]

"With an eclectic pop-rock sound, the Bandeesí BIG DAY continues in the spirit of their 1998 CD entitled, They Fly Around. This new record, like its predecessor, sports Stephen Deesí Bowie-esque vocals with Patricia Annís outstanding harmonies. She also contributes such diverse instruments as flute, oboe, harmonica and saxophone. From pensive and poignant ("Breaking the Surface," "Serious"), to festive ("Big Day"), to ska-tinged ("Slow fade"), to Americana ("Talk About It"), this CD morphs all styles into one collective sound the Bandees are known for. Rating: ***** 5 out of 5  [Connections Magazine, July 2000]

"On their latest album, "BIG DAY," the Bandees include a little ditty titled "Happy Tones, Cool Sounds." Itís a sly song in which singer-guitarist Stephen Dees praises "happy tones and cool sounds" by employing something of their opposite - a rustic, folkie, Bob Dylan sound, replete with a nasally imitation of Big Bob himself. However, the Bandees, an Edgewater-based modern rock band, indeed deliver plenty of cool sounds on "BIG DAY." The album includes the David Bowie vibe of the title track, some jangly, Tom Petty-like rock on "Kidís Go Out and Play," frantic synth pop on "Turn Around" and "Thatís What the Big Man Said," and some Police-like reggae with "Slow Fade.""
[The News Journal, GO-DO, May 5, 2000]

""BIG DAY" is a concept album about the journey from life to death for one man. Stephen Dees wrote most of the CDís tracks, plays guitar and bass, and sings in a husky, expressive Bowie-fied way. He may or may not be attempting autobiography with this chameleon of a disc, but he serves as narrator/protagonist from the get-go as he croons "I was late or so they said/I popped out upon my head" on the title track. From there, Dees and band have fun with country pop stylings reminiscent of the Monkees "Last Train to Clarksville" and funky acoustic grooves dealing with ignorant parents and mechanically unstable cars. But then, as the narrator comes of age, an uncle advises him to "Forget your dreams/Become a Marine" during the new wave pop of "Thatís What the Big Man Said" and the tone of the album changes dramatically. MVP kudos to woodwind player Patricia Ann, who serves as an all-purpose orchestra with spacious patches, flutes, melodicas, harmonicas and sweet backing harmonies. From the car-horn tonality of the oboe on "Working for My Car" to playfully inserting a "Sabre Dance" motif into the mix for the maniac, restless ska/jazz jive of "Turn Around." Drummer and percussionist, Alberto Cruz, infuse the songs with a worldbeat feel, and Dees has solid chops to spare. Dees digs deeper into the psyche with tunes like the wide-open waltz of "Breaking the Surface," the material comes full circle with another dose of country wackery ("Talk About It") and r&b honey ("Slow Fade") before ending like an episode of "Fractured Fairtales." All over the map intentionally, this cycle is one that requires extra spins. Could be habit forming."
[JAM Magazine, Bing Futch, May 2000] Rating: A  


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