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  Rise and Shine 
Artist: Ed Hale and Transcendence 
Label: TMG Records
Length: 17/62:07

Florida native Ed Hale claims a wide variety of influences in his music - ranging from the Beatles to the Gypsy Kings to obscure Brazilian singers no one has ever heard of.  Rise and Shine borrows from every style of music imaginable - rock, pop, jazz, acid, hiphop,  world, Latin, electronica, 80’s new wave.  To steal a line from Billy Joel - “It’s still rock ‘n’ roll to me.” Rise and Shine manages to incorporate these disparate genres, which, when combined with Hale’s David Bowie-like vocals, produces stunning results. 

“Better Luck Next Time” portrays a life of regret and missed opportunity.  It is full of “I could have…but instead I” statements, and concludes with the subject asking God for just one more chance to get it right.  “Do You Know Who You Are” shows a quest for identity, and along with “Rise and Shine”, offers some insight into the confusion that can be experienced when someone does not know God.

“Paris” is about a love that endured despite a separation, and despite a potential interloper whose intentions were thwarted.  Hale resembles Robyn Hitchcock here, although the song does include the inexcusable line “chillin’ like Bobby Dylan,” perhaps the low point on this otherwise excellent CD.  “Mother” builds upon itself , starting in a low Bono- or Ian McCulloch- (Echo & the Bunnymen) like tone, and building to full roar, demanding to know why someone hadn’t warned him about the troubles he would face in life. “Tres Cool” is a trippy rap rock tune that is a litany of things enjoyed by its singer, offering homage to such seemingly unrelated items as Peter Gabriel, and mint chocolate chip ice cream.

Beatles meet Brazilian is the theme of “So Quero Um Todo/All You Need is Love,” rearranging a Portuguese traditional with the McCartney/Lennon classic.  The album’s signature song, though, will probably be “The Journey (A Call to Arms).” Musically, it combines INXS and Pseudo Echo, but is a polemic lyrically in the style of Public Enemy:

 This is a wake up call m----- f------
 We’re not going to take it any more
 You don’t build a bridge
 That you can’t drive your car on
 How am I supposed to support a government
That don’t support me?
Whether or not you agree with the sentiments, the song is a powerful call to rebellion against the status quo.  It would be easy to picture it being done by Rage Against the Machine, or Lou Reed - it sounds like neither, but the writing matches either one.

Rise and Shine has something here for almost any fan of music, taking the best elements of many differing areas, and showing that the categories that we tend to place on music may overlap much more than we think.  This one will be in rotation for awhile.

Brian A. Smith  4/30/2002



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