Bad Penny Opera Shines Brightly, October 11, 2013
By Mark Mansfield (Geneva, NY, US) – See all my reviews
This review is from: Bad Penny Opera (Audio CD)
I have been listening to The Cherry Bluestorms’ new song-cycle CD, Bad Penny Opera. The CD showcases what I believe to be the Cherry Bluestorms’ strongest, most appealing songwriting to date — assured, fully fleshed out lyrics, which at times keenly bring to mind Lennon/McCartney’s deliberately playful toying and larking about with ambiguity. Glen Laughlin’s full-bodied, robustly confident, contemporary production brilliantly evokes Bad Penny’s milieu, the interstitial period of Britain’s psychedelic nascence, while never falling prey to being slavishly “of” or hamstrung by that period. Deborah Gee’s vocals find her singing with fresh vigor and aplomb, at her apex, while the band’s vocals in general are polished and perfectly attuned to the period mentioned above without coming off as affected. The Cherry Bluestorms’ playing likewise is impeccably better than ever before, and of a piece with the eerily pendulous psychological sweep and return, only to sweep ever closer to the point of no return that sums Bad Penny Opera’s unrelenting momentum. The instrumentation/arrangements, (especially vividly rendered horn parts), further invite the listener along into the swirling eddy (or eddylike swirl!) of Bad Penny’s chiaroscuroesque journey — a vivid musical postmodern cautionary tale that ultimately neither takes nor offers quarter.