Collaborative efforts between Gina Longo and Rosemary’s Garden frontman, Michael-Louis de Terre initially began as a backing effort for Longo as solo artist. However, as the music evolved and songs began to take form, they made the effort a duo collective under the working title, Early Girl. The partnership recently yielded fruit from many labors in the form of their first full-length, Forever We Change. The album is and eclectic mix of genres and styles with Longo’s vocals standing at the foreground of the tracks.
“Stand Up” opens with staccato backing percussion, acoustic strums and a bouncing bass line that yields to horns and full drum set at the chorus. The track is rife with Pop sentimentality while a slight twang in Longo’s voice ushers the track toward a Country feel. There is an immediate (and somewhat disjointed) leap to the loungey, guitar-led, slightly Latin “Easy Money”, which again propels Longo’s vocals to the forefront of the track with the Poppy Rock feel of the song lingering just behind the vocal delivery bolstered by “Oooo’s” backing vox. The Country twinge returns on “Never Try To Change You” with a honky stomp rhythm and Country fried electric guitar and strum acoustic. The vocals evoke the Country feel of the track at points and then appears as something else entirely at others. Again, there is a vein of “disjointed” in the sum of the parts of the track. “Tangled” starts as one part plucky sing-song mock track and another part jingle. I’m not sure what the desired effect was on this one, but again, it feels out of place. Title track “Forever We Change” is arguably the strongest track on the album with Longo showing her full range over an appropriate amount of backing melody, which see the two facets meld seamlessly into one another. Everything about this one is the most magic conjured on the album.
On several of the songs I find it hard trying to fit them into a nice, convenient category. And typically this is a good thing. However on Forever, I find the tracks sparse on direction and heavy on crossing myriad sounds, styles, techniques and applications. It’s as if Longo and de Terre settled on several different directions and attempted to incorporate them all into the album. I feel this is what conjures the disjointed, unconnected feel about the album as a whole. Longo’s vocals are certainly pretty enough; and the musicality supplied by de Terre has depth. I just wonder if the two are in fact on the same page in regards to making music in tandem.
by Chris West – firstname.lastname@example.org