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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Moonpools & Caterpillars - Lucky Dumpling

Name: Moonpools & Caterpillars
Album: Lucky Dumpling
Year: 1995
Style: Alternative
Similar Bands: Cranberries, Belly, Bjork, Velocity Girl, Veruca Salt, Letters To Cleo, Juliana Hatfield, Frente, Sixpence None the Richer
One Word Review: Hiccupy Alt-Pop
Based Out Of: Glendale/LA California
Label: Instant Record, Elektra, Warner Communications, Time Warner, WEA International, Eastwest
Lucky Dumpling - Cover, CD, Inner Photo and Back
Lucky Dumpling - Liner Song List, CD Tray
Lucky Dumpling - Lyrics
Lucky Dumpling - Lyrics
Lucky Dumpling - Liner Notes
Lucky Dumpling - (1995)
  1. Hear 3:19
  2. Ren 4:10
  3. Soon 4:24
  4. Trampleing Rose 4:20
  5. Colossal Youth 3:51
  6. Summertime 2:48
  7. Heaven 3:52
  8. Sundays 4:05
  9. Traveling Song 3:57
  10. The Buick 2:18
  11. Koo Koo Koo 3:37
  12. Jubilee 4:49
  13. Crazy Old World 3:33
Album Rating (1-10): 7.0

Members & Other Bands:
Tim DePala - Bass
Jay Jay Encarnacion - Guitars (Fight, Tony Monaco, Brassknucks, Lost Sounds)
Kimi Ward - Vox, Harmonica
Gugut Salgodo - Drums & Percussion
Richard Gottehrer - Producer
Jeffery Lesser - Co-Producer, Recording, Mixing
John Yates - Engineer
Chris Laidlaw - Engineer
Greg Calbi - Mastering
John Heiden - Package Design
David Sheldon - Illustrations
Annalisa - Photography
Lara Hill - A&R
Scott Ross - Management

Unknown-ness: I must have read an article with them prominently displayed in CMJ Music Monthly back in 1995, because this has been sitting on my cd shelf for years, and I don’t remember why I bought it or what it sounds like. I do enjoy the Ren & Stimpy like Log advert artwork, and I appreciate the one band member wearing a Spam shirt…both of these things spoke to me back in 95. I expect it to be some sort of happy pop music, with fun, sweet hooks and polite accents. Maybe J-pop.

Album Review: M&C had minor success when they were first out in 95 when this album came out, but noting to hold the attention of the public or the record company. Some songs of theirs were used in commercials and movies, and they were one of the biggest bands of Philippine descent, featuring two heavy hitting producers (Gottehrer = Blondie, Go-Go’s & Lesser = Lou Reed, Barbara Streisand). The album is a product of its era, and was created to jump on the bill of bands with eccentric female vocals to acompany polite alternative-produced songs.

“Hear” was licensed by Volkswagen. It starts with a Ned’s Atomic Dustbin like bass line, and then crashes into a Letters to Cleo melody. There is a little Cranberries inflection in her voice, but the music is entergetic alt-pop.The vocals are also a little like Alanis Morsette. After 2 sections of verse chorus, the song lightens up and resets itself to rebuild into the chorus again. I remember this song after hearing it again now.
“Ren” begins like a Julianna Hatfield 3 song with a dreamy, loopy melody. The female vocals ride up and down in range at the chorus. This song is more dream pop, and lacks the energy of the first song. There are a lot of chosen hiccups in her voice, which give it almost a yodeling quality.  
“Soon” is brought in with a slow drum beat, and has more Irish style female vocal inflections, and the song floats along as a fuzzy ballad. The end of the song transforms her vocals with an echo enhancement and a harmonica is added to folk things up.
“Trampling Rose” keeps the moonlight ballad feeling going with this watery, row-boat at midnight acoustic guitar loop. The vocals to this song remind me of Juliana Hatfield and Frente. The chorus is a bit stompy and uses the hooting vocal explorations.
“Colossal Youth” begins very pop-punky with a fast, driving Blink 182-ish guitar hook. Once the vocals start, the instruments are pulled back, and gently added back in and it builds up to the chorus, which makes the song feel like something that would have been featured as a Buffy the Vampire Slayer-Nightclub band. The instrumental is highlighted with the electric guitar echoing and playing with the established melody.
“Summertime” was used in Disney’s Babysitters club. It begins with the familiar “Low Rider” harmonic hook. Bass is the heavy carrier for this song, sounding a little like a New Order bassline. It gently glides along, threatening to rock out with energy, but never quite reaching the peak potential.
“Heaven” is a straight up ballad, with an acoustic guitars playing an “I can’t help falling in love with you” melody. The vocals are cutesy and full of life, and walking a fine line of country. This would be the slow dance at the rock show or middle school dance.

“Sundays” kicks in with conga drums, and a tribal chorus singing “Hey-Ya” in the background. The organic spirit is removed once the lead vocals come in. They are mixed up a little too shiny and bright, as the music takes a big back seat to their spotlight. I feel like I may have heard this song too, elsewhere in the past. After a couple of tramples through the verse chorus mix, the backing vocals are brought back to compete with the lead in a cohesive blend.
“Traveling Song” slows it back down with reserved vocals, and a slow, methodic melody. About 1:45, it kicks in (ever so slightly) with heavier guitars and drums, and she experiments with the rollicking and expressive mountain side vocals. The fuzzy guitars stick with the rest of the song, keeping the bar raised.
“The Buick” is a start stopping momentum song at its heart. For short periods, the fuzzy guitars and extra drum licks add in a constant tempo. The vocals, while still sung, are delivered with more of a spoken word, poetic delivery.
“Koo Koo Koo” is so much a jangly, college radio style song that I expect to hear Michael Stipe come in at any second. But after the intro, the guitars give way to vocals and bass/drum’s slow tempo movement. The jangles come back in to support the chorus, and cut out again when it gets to the next verse.
“Jubilee” is a light song with precious Juliana Hatfield style vocals, with a “Walk on the Wildside” bassline. The song jumps into the fast stream at about 2 minutes in with a quickly sung part with vocal skatting and instruments that match the pace and intensity. The song exhausts itself and retreats back to the calm intro style. It finds a middle ground of anthemic intensity and singing in the round to end the song.
“Crazy Old World” ends the album with a very quiet guitar intro and vocals that maintain a quiet volume with small bursts of emotional loudness. The second round of verse finds a jangly guitar and steady drum beat added. It builds to a Sixpence None the Richer climax and just ends the album there.

Stand Out Track: Hear

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