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January Ep [Import]

Bishop Allen Audio CD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Best CD I have purchased in a long time!! Aug. 9 2003
Format:Audio CD
It is the rare CD these days which are a joy to listen to from end to end. Usually there is at least one song, usually more, that is overplayed, weak, annoying, grating, badly written/performed, or just do not seem to fit. I attribute that to the phenomenon of having to have a "single" to sell so the rest of the collection will sell. There are countless examples, and practically everyone's CD collection is littered with them.
Not here! Bishop Allen has put together a CD that does not only contain great music, but is wonderful to listen to from start to finish. There are no bad songs here!! And what's better to me, every song sounds fresh and exciting. No cheap sellouts, no studio creations or dance mixes to hype into the mainstream. All of the songs are great. You can listen to just one song, or the entire CD at a sitting, and you will find yourself pleasantly enjoying the experience.
Bishop Allen, in my mind, is all about original, fun, intelligent, and well blended music. Nice use of non-traditional rock/pop instrumentation as well. It is fairly mellow, although with enough energy to get your toes tapping and your head bobbing. Justin Rice's voice is quirky, but very enjoyable and has a mellow tone that draws you in. And I must say that Bonnie Karin vocals are angelic and sweet. I really like hearing her voice throughout the songs, lending the right amount of support and feel to the entire CD. It is simple in some respects, yet at the same time a truly rare and refreshing mix of good song writing, a unique style, and all of the parts making the whole a rich, satisfying collection.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Cute fun June 10 2003
Format:Audio CD
Bishop Allen is a reasonably charming new act, fond of understatement and catchy little hooks. I hesitate to start telling you what they sound like, because I sometimes doubt they were seriously influenced by anyone but themselves; nevertheless as a reviewer it's my duty to try and put them into context for you. Like many artists of recent years (They Might Be Giants, Barenaked Ladies) they seem to have taken the route of being half-comical, aren't-we-quirky little artists rather than attempting to inspire awe (a la U2 or other inflated egos.) The lead singer sounds a bit like Jonathan Richman from his "Ice Cream Man" era, quiet and gentle and perhaps singing less well than he could if he weren't trying to be a bit quirky. (It's hard to say.) Indeed, it is this album's very understatement and excessive lack of ambition that grate on the nerves a bit. It was apparently recorded in apartments with drums (real ones made to sound digitally slick) and a few guitars, as well as some female backup singers who chime in, close-miked and shy, with even less energy than the lead singer. I cannot detect a hint of reverb in any of the mixes. The overall effect is still professional but mostly these are this-is-who-we-are-take-it-or-leave-it-little-fun-ditties-this-could-be-you-and-your-college-buddies-ha-ha. By taking this route I wonder if they are selling themselves just a little bit short. There are some good hooks here, particularly in "Things Are What You Make Of Them" with its chorus canon, that probably could have been made into better recordings with more energy and polish. Pop ditties alone can be catchy but often require production to give them a little kick, because as songs they aren't particularly meaningful. Maybe Bob Dylan can sit down and do a pared-down song and it will be great, but the same couldn't be said of most light pop hits. Look for more fun from Bishop Allen in the future, but hopefully they will find the guts to give their little vision a bigger voice.
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5.0 out of 5 stars "Quirky," but so much more... Jan. 14 2004
Format:Audio CD
For those of you who want a smarter version of the Strokes, or a Moldy Peaches CD that you can listen to with your parents or small children around, Bishop Allen is the band for you. I found out about Bishop Allen through their guitarist and songwriter, Christian Rudder, who used to make me weep with laughter during his writing days at thespark.com. So I took a jump and bought the CD because the guitarist makes me laugh, sure ... but I haven't regretted it since. There's a perfect mix of songs - some touching (track 6), some funky (track two), and all of them eclectic and catchy to the point that I find myself singing them to myself all day, saddened that nobody else can jump in and join me. So often I've bought CDs by "smart" or "quirky" bands and have found the trite, or mostly just trying to hard. Bishop Allen is effortlessly smart and cool, but better than that, talented and infectious singer-songwriters.
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2.0 out of 5 stars How to be cool, I guess Dec 18 2003
Format:Audio CD
Rolling Stone magazine gave this album a whopping four star review. And after listening to the album, I can only guess that their praise was not based on content.
You see, there is a popular attitude found in music journalism these days that roots for the underdog. In the case of Bishop Allen, they are over-rooting. If you want to be considered hip, you have to favor obscure music, regardless of whether or not it is good.
I'm not judging a book by its cover. I have heard this CD, and I find it extremely irritating. What Bishop Allen describes as charm I describe as obnoxiousness. Yes, indie rock has its merits in goofiness (remember the Dead Milkmen?), but these guys miss the mark completely. The songs are repetious, tedious, and simplistic (in a bad way).
It goes to show how underground music has turned into just another form of tokenism.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars There's hope for music after all
I originally discovered Bishop Allen's Charm School c.d at the library. I played it once, thought it was good, found myself wanting to listen to it again and fell in love with the... Read more
Published on April 12 2004 by eydie sanders
5.0 out of 5 stars what would i do
without this cd? it is definitely my favorite at the moment. and has been for a few months now. buy it! (@ bishopallen.com)
Published on Feb. 28 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing
It seems almost fruitless to go into detail about why I love this album.
I've seen this band live, and their musical talent is only exceeded by their dedication. Read more
Published on Feb. 2 2004 by "imkindoftired"
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy-going fun
This CD is full of awesome music best for chillin' with, or as really great driving music. It's clean, simple, entertaining, and has some very nice lyrical content that's... Read more
Published on Jan. 8 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Great driving music...
I heard "Things are what you make of them" on an internet radio station and went out and bought "Charm School"--I was not disappointed. Read more
Published on Nov. 20 2003 by Seth
5.0 out of 5 stars Grows on you...
The first time I spun this record I thought it was quirky, fun, catchy -- but not much more. But, since listening to it on repeat, all the way up I-95 from NYC a month ago, I... Read more
Published on Sept. 24 2003 by Alan A. Donovan
5.0 out of 5 stars Get charmed with Charm School
If you like alternative music along the lines of (say) They Might Be Giants, then this is a GREAT album to look into. Read more
Published on July 12 2003 by Shaw N. Lacy
4.0 out of 5 stars urban stranger
this album is really great fun! catchy without being watered down. they've got a nice sound that's off beat and quirky but each song is very strong. Read more
Published on June 14 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect
There is no other way to describe this music. It is simply perfect. The expressive vocals flip flop easily from hints of sadness to complete glee. Read more
Published on June 14 2003 by T. Hanrion
2.0 out of 5 stars modest mouse ripoff
seriously, save your money. this is like weird al making an album of modest mouse and imperial teen ripoffs. except they aren't joking. Read more
Published on June 13 2003
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