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Charm School Import

4.2 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

Price: CDN$ 49.95
Only 1 left in stock.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 29 2003)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Champagne School
  • ASIN: B00008E2M6
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews
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1. Charm School
2. Little Black Ache
3. Busted Heart
4. Bishop Allen Drive
5. Eve Of Destruction
6. Things Are What You Make Of Them
7. Ghosts Are Good Company
8. Empire City
9. Couple Easy Things
10. Penitentiary Bound
11. Quarter To Three
12. Another Wasted Night
13. Things Are What You Make Of Them (reprise)

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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 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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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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