by 3 Penny Opera

Track listing: Figure 8, Faith, Hope & Love, Don’t Let Me Be Alone Tonight, Give Your Love to Me, Sexuality, Cancion

Recorded: 1999
Best track: "Figure 8"
Track to skip: the version of "Give Your Love to Me" on here isn’t that hot, but Bryan does a nice guitar solo that is worth hearing
Rating: 86 out of 100

A 6-song demo the band recorded, originally as entry for a songwriting competition. The first thing I noticed about this CD is that America has finally broken out of her previous voice. She sounded like Natalie Merchant for the longest time, and even though she was a fan, hated that she sounded like Natalie and was always compared to her. Well, on this CD she finally sounds like America.

The cohesion of the band is evident all over this short CD. They’re pretty tight. The 3 new songs ("Figure 8," "Faith" and "Sexuality") are all good, but "Figure 8" stands out above the rest. It’s actually the best thing on here. I think Ed Park, the violinist, wrote some of the music on this, but it’s apparent that it’s a full-band creation. I always thought that 3 Penny Opera would’ve been at their best when everybody contributed. Nothing against Bryan’s songs, as I’m a huge fan, but it always seemed to me that there was this huge untapped resource in the musicians of 3PO. Glad they finally got around to it.

I really like the percussion breakdown of "Cancion," but America’s vocals are too restrained. The version from the previous disc is a lot better. As a whole this is a good disc and it starts to point in a direction that the band could have gone if the core of the band didn’t go up to NYC. There, 3PO morphed into what is now Simple Thing, a group that continues on the tradition of good music emanating from songwriter Bryan Dunn.

Posted on 4/15/02