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Big Blue Marble - Natchez

Released Independently, 10/13/07

I love a good head-to-the-beach-on-a-sunny-Sunday CD and Big Blue Marble’s new creation, Natchez, doesn’t disappoint. Whilst I hate to use the word "boppy" to describe any great pop/rock album, bop is really what you want to do to the music.

Not to be mistaken for the famed children’s television show of the same name, Big Blue Marble’s David Fera lends strong pop-punk-esque vocals to a range of standout instruments including violins, cellos, trumpets and saxes giving a slight ska feel to songs like "Millions of Fishes" and "Muses".

Where some lyrics may not appear deep and sentimental, the songs ooze fun and irreverence. The title track, "Natchez"(about a paddle-steamer), has a mellow, acoustic sound -- complete with clapping -- that still finds your foot tapping to the beat and within ten seconds you’re willingly singing along to the tune.

Even the scratchier rock ballad titled "Criminals" is a great blend of prominent vocals with killer riffs from guitarist Ike Aguilar, without being pretentious and perfect. Fera could even get away with David Bowie comparisons in this psychedelic off-beat compilation.

Another standout is "Blue are the Trees". The vocals are dreamy, reflecting a children’s nursery rhyme in the way they are put together to a country/bluesy backdrop. Accented by clever use of a harmonica in the first and final few moments, this song flows beautifully into Natchez’s super finale, "Cat out the Bag" -- a love-inspiration that sounds as though it’s being sung in the shower.

It’s difficult to classify the band in one genre -- rock, punk, pop, ska, folk, blues -- it’s an unbeatable combination when you’re in the mood for diversity. So on that note, let David, Ike, Paul Chell (Bass, Storyteller), Timmy LeBlanc (Electric Piano, Synth), Mike Blum (Lap Steel Guitar) and Stu Schayot (Drums), hang out with you this Sunday -- what a perfect way to end the week.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars