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Wholesale Meats and Fish

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Album Review

Wholesale Meats and Fish doesn't break any new musical ground, but it is far from a sophomore slump for Letters to Cleo. The band rocks harder than it had previously, but retains pop pureness and continues to entertain.

When the band's first album Aurora Gory Alice was released in 1993, it received little critical or popular response. But including "Here and Now" on the Melrose Place soundtrack helped Aurora's record sales pick up steam. At that point, the band had already recorded Wholesale Meats and Fish, but couldn't release it yet because they had newfound popularity to deal with (a tour and video were put into motion). When it was finally released, Fish was revealed to be a solid effort, but it wasn't perceived to be as timely or important as the band's first record.

Letters to Cleo spent most of the time in between recording both albums playing countless shows. This is apparent on Wholesale Meats and Fish in a decidedly harder-edged sound to the music, reminiscent of Letters' live performances. Guitarists Michael Eisenstein and Greg McKenna have stepped up their roles and turned up the volume on their instruments this time around, while bassist Scott Riebling has been pushed farther down in the mix.

Biography

Formed: 1990 in Boston, MA

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Melding hooky pop songs with the muscled approach of a rock band, Letters to Cleo formed in Boston in 1990. Guitarist Greg McKenna actually started Letters to Cleo as another group; when he began searching for a background singer to complete his lineup, he found Kay Hanley. A powerhouse vocalist who had previously performed in a local new wave group, Hanley remained with McKenna after the original band fell apart several months later. The band adopted a peppy power pop sound as well as a new name,...
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Wholesale Meats and Fish, Letters to Cleo
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