We just recently sent this out for review. Two webzines have given it early reviews: Electrozine and Aiding and Abetting. We also have a review that was originally written for Mojo's Homebrew column; unfortunately, that column has been put on hold at least temporarily, so the author of the review suggested we use the review attributed to him.

From Electrozine, by Jamie Raven

The world is full of unanswerable questions. Who told Roger Moore he could act? How does a man as ugly as Heavy D get all those chicks? How did the Patriots ever make it to the Superbowl? Why is Bob Saggett a millionaire? Enter Lincoln, Nebraska’s Floating Opera to add to this list of mind boggler’s.

Why is Floating Opera not in the Billboard Top Ten?

Here is a band that proves that there is more to Nebraska than just legions of rabid Husker fans. Pop music has come far in this day and age, and bands like Floating Opera have led the way from hey-girl bubblegum to real-folks’ heartache.

Featuring members of Lincoln’s Mercy Rule and The Millions (both Midwestern indie royalty), the opera that floats brings songwriting back to pop in a way that few ever will. Principal writer Richard Rebarber (who also produced and engineered the record) seems to believe the truth lies somewhere between Neil Young and Brian Eno, which may well be true.

The band brings all the required radio elements: catchy chorus hooks, melodies that are easy on the ear, and lyrics that are singable after the first or second listen. What separates them from the normal pop fare, however, is the genuine feelings that the music communicates. In a world where pop is defined by marketing reports and copycatting, the artist who is willing to truly wear his or her heart on their musical sleeve is a rare bird indeed.

Singers Lori Anderson and Heidi Ore share lead vocal duties with Indigo Girl-esque harmonies (on a Who cover, to boot), while the band blends its keyboard and violin-driven melodies into a sound much like a soufflé: light, airy, and melting in your mouth.

"It’s Not Easy Listening Anymore" is a fine recording and could receive airplay anywhere in the country. Why are they not in the Top Ten? Chalk it up to another mystery………..


From Aiding and Abetting, by Jon Worly

But Floating Opera was never easy listening. Maybe I'm being a bit too literal with the title. It's happened before. And anyway, the title comes from a line in the first track.

Five more songs from Richard Rebarber and his troupe of studio troubadours. Lori Allison (once of the Millions) and Heidi Ore (once of Mercy Rule) are back singing -- Allison takes on most of that burden --and the arrangements are as busy and complex as before.

"Timeless" gets bandied about an awful lot, but that's what these songs are. These pieces could be appended to the end of the last Floating Opera album and it would be impossible to tell that they were recorded years later. The other side of that description is also applicable. The style of the songs is such that they never fade. They're never out of step. They're simply gorgeous and terribly moving.

Once again, there's a cover ("I Can't Reach You"), and it fits right in with the original stuff. The arrangement is just as idiosyncratic and wonderful as the other pieces. No one makes music quite like this. Floating Opera will probably never get much mainstream attention, but it has created some of the great pop music of the last few years.

Written for Mojo, by Joe Cushley (has yet to appear):

Floating Opera are that rare beast - a band with an original sound. In an attempt to pin them down you'd have to invoke such unlikely bedfellows as Stephen Sondheim and Blondie. This is orchestral pop of the first water, which evinces none of the campery often associated with the genre. Their EP, *It's Not Easy Listening Anymore* is superb.

 

 

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