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Home > Magazine > Article Archive > News

Reviews: Tin Drum ~ Small Parade
Posted on Tuesday, November 19, 2002 @ 20:42:08 UTC
Topic: Reviews

Artist: Tin Drum

CD: Small Parade

Style: Rock

Quote: "At the band's core is the husband-wife team of Burleigh Drummond and Mary Harris. Burleigh was the founding drummer of Ambrosia, a key group that helped define the sound of rock music in the late '70's".

By Les Reynolds

While the name Tin Drum sounds like a toy, it beats a strong and true rhythm throughout its solid 14-song CD "Small Parade."

A succession of tunes built around an excellent rhythm section, punctuated by keyboards and good vocals, "Small Parade" marches to a slightly different drummer.

At the band's core is the husband-wife team of Burleigh Drummond and Mary Harris. Burleigh was the founding drummer of Ambrosia, a key group that helped define the sound of rock music in the late '70's. (And his last name seems no coincidence here, either.)

It's his insistent, dead-center and sometimes intricate percussion patterns that now define the foundation of this band.

Burleigh is joined by his singer-songwriter wife Mary, who is the sweet soprano voice throughout the CD and the one on keyboards and piano. Rounding out the band are the other half of the rhythm section in bassist Mick Mahan and they're also joined by guitarist/vocalist Larry Treadwell.

While most of these original tracks are good and a few could bear mentioning due to some musical factor or other, there are five that really stand out.

The title track, which opens the CD, combines most of the ingredients that make this an excellent work: solid bass and percussion, Mary's sweet vocals breezing in and around the lyrics and an overall swaying feel to it.

The mid-tempo "Johnny" follows it, with the male vocal sounding a bit like Luka Bloom and the background support very much like a pop '70's tune. But it's catchy...

"Wailing Wall" could perhaps be the CD's best tune -- starting off with an Afro-Caribbean drum/piano and what sound like minor keys. A bit on the spooky side with Mary singing in a near-whisper as she drops her voice a bit:

"I kissed the wailing wall.
Unlocked the Red Sea.
Drink holy water.
Say Abba father,
Lay your hands on me.

This is my darkest day.
The sun has gone away.
Hey, I know this story.
...the road to glory.
We can only pray..."

Larry's electric guitar weaves a rather ominous "wailing" thread on a solo later in the song which punctuates the dark mood.

Perhaps the best showcase for simple melody, voice and instrument is "All I Want", which showcases Mary's soft vocals, nice backup effect and sparse piano.

"Luck of the Irish" is an energetic minor key piano-driven instrumental number which is very hypnotic and haunting at the same time. Dr. James Sitterly's violin (guest musician) adds a richness to the tune that would be missing without it and Larry's sparse mandolin does the same. This tune slows and speeds up, ebbs and flows, but it's Mary's piano that really sets the tone and holds the energy.

A lot of former rockers try their hands at resurrection, new start-up bands and revivals of their own careers and come up short. This formula works. It's innovative and well-executed. An all-around, well-deserved "well-done."

http://www.tindrum.net












 
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