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Long Sound

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Album Review

On Long Sound, Chicago's Coctails continued their offbeat style of jazzy lounge music. Throughout their career they were somehow able to recruit their fan base from indie rock circles, and this album played a large role in their development. It was during this era of the band that the quartet's sound moved more to jazz and away from the band's poppier efforts on albums like Early Hi-Ball Years. The disc starts off with "Steam," a subdued song that moves at a crawling pace. Throughout the disc, the band experiments with a variety of horns, including saxophone, clarinet, vibraphone, trumpet, and fluegelhorn. The pace picks up on "China Song," which is followed by the jumbled and inventive "Monkeys and Seals," which includes Ken Vandermark on bass clarinet. "Tenement" includes an extended solo by soprano saxophonist Hal Russell. The simplest song is "Twilight for Henry"; it's also the only song that is absent of horns. The song simply consists of guitar and bass, serving as a sort of musical intermission in the middle of the mostly horn-based album. The piano intertwines gracefully with Dave Crawford's fluegelhorn on "Waterlogged," leading to the chaotic blend of piano and horns on "Clown's Coffee." The album concludes with the longest song on the disc, the almost seven-minute-long "Gripper Bite," which consists of the core group of four and the simple mix of saxophone, bass, drums, and guitar. The songs on the album were recorded at Acme Studios in Chicago in August 1992. Seven of the ten songs included guest musicians, as the band began to extend their musical reach beyond the quartet of John Upturch, Mark Greenberg, B. Norman Phipps, and Archer Prewitt.


Formed: 1989 in Kansas City, MO

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s

Progenitors of the lounge revival movement, kitsch-pop icons the Coctails formed in Kansas City in 1989; making their debut at an area art gallery clad in matching yellow tuxedos complete with maroon bowties. The group (singers/multi-instrumentalists Archer Prewitt, Mark Greenberg, John Upchurch, and Barry Phipps) forged a unique, eclectic sound celebrating the sound and imagery of '50s-era space age bachelor pad music, drawing influence from everyone from Miles Davis to Martin Denny. After issuing...
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Long Sound, The Coctails
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