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The Process

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Album Review

Just a few weeks after Brave Combo's 1999 Polkasonic won the Grammy for Best Polka Album, The Process hit the record stores. Although band founder Carl Finch saw The Process as a side project of sorts, the album is a delightful testament to his songwriting capabilities. Rather than tackle more polkas and other forms of traditional dance music, Brave Combo broke the mold on The Process and presented a pop album. Although "Why Oh Why" is a polka (a remixed version of a track from Polkasonic), The Process delivers mainly hook-filled pop songs. Still, the band's trademark hard-driving instrumentation that is so prevalent on their polkas permeates most of the songs here, too. "Golden Opportunity" utilizes some elements of polka, but owes more to ska. The reflective "For Me" features soothing background vocals from Stephanie Nadonly. "I Think I Lost Something" is an odd but catchy tune that could just as easily have come from They Might Be Giants. "My Tears Are Nothing" is, for the most part, a cha-cha. "Human" is the album's strongest and most accessible track and is probably most representative of the band's effort to get more airplay. "Nothing Earthly" is the type of lilting, somewhat cheesy waltz you'd hear coming from a carousel. And "Double Vision"? Well, it's no surprise they included yet another irreverent cover of a classic rock song from a '70s band. In Brave Combo's hands, the song becomes a haunting mambo. A definite eyebrow raiser, but then again, the only REAL surprise the Combo could have come up with would have been to include no surprise at all.


Formed: 1979 in Denton, TX

Genre: World

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Applying the polka and world-music dance treatment to a most unlikely song lineup ("People Are Strange," "Sixteen Tons," "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida," "O Holy Night"), Brave Combo formed in the late '70s in the small Texas hometown of vocalist and guitarist Carl Finch, recorded three albums for the self-owned Four Dots label, and later moved to Rounder. The group's line-up, though constantly shifting, began to coalesce around Finch, horn player Jeffrey Barnes, bassist Bubba Hernandez, and either Mitch Marine...
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The Process, Brave Combo
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