Album Reviews

Bob Sinclar

Cerrone Sound of Barclay

Who is Bob Sinclar? Sinclar comes from the imagination of Parisian Chris Le Friant — Sinclar is also his alter ego. Sinclar is a world famous DJ, remixer and producer.

Sinclar has a specialized groove. The retro-disco sound behind his music is complemented by a sensual house-beat and modern production methods that get you going on the dance floor.

Sinclar’s credits are everywhere. His remixes of dozens of songs are on many records and huge singles such as Stardust’s “”The Music Sounds Better With You.”” Sinclar’s recent studio album, “”Champs Elysees,”” captures the sounds of disco and R&B in the ’70s, and creates a soulful blend of very danceable club music.

Sinclar returns with arrangements of the work of classic disco producer Jean-Marc Cerrone. Almost everything on “”Cerrone by Bob Sinclar”” is a classic hit from the ’70s, but is reworked to achieve the modern sound of house music.

This is French house at its very best.

There are classics like “”Love in C Minor”” and “”Supernature.”” There is a spicy Latin sound in “”Revelacion”” and funky disco-guitars scattered throughout the mix. House producers like Modjo (known for “”Lady””) also make an appearance on this album. There are remixes by Spiller (known for the hit single “”Groovejet [If This Ain’t Love]””) and progressive house master Danny Tenaglia.

Sinclar also slips in one of his own songs (“”I Feel For You””) to mix beautifully on top of Cerrone’s “”Look For Love,”” which results in nothing short of pure glamor.

Soulful vocals dominate “”Standing in the Rain,”” and the horns and funky bass-line of this song — and practically the entire album — can transport you to a mansion in the hills of Hollywood for some swank disco-party, the glittery nightlife in Vegas or the steamy clubs of Paris.

This album mixes French disco-house sound with Latin instrumentals and the pace of deep house. “”Cerrone by Bob Sinclar”” is fit for any party or for cruising through the city streets with the top down.

Spaceman Spiff

The Love EP self-released

Spaceman Spiff. Funny name, eh? How many of you recognize this as a Calvin and Hobbes reference? Probably a lot of you. But how many of you know this is probably one of the best hip-hop-infused jazz acts in San Diego?

There is a distinct jazz sound in this music, with classic jazz chords that reveal the light sounds of the sax and flute. The funk in the drums and bass gives the sound that extra edge. The smooth vocals of Ivan Garzon will make anyone feel the foot-tapping and body-swaying groove of the music.

You could compare Spaceman Spiff to a jazzier Jamiroquai, but almost all of Spiff’s material is original. The talent of this quartet is more than apparent on “”The Love EP.””

As vocalist and bass player, Garzon studied bass guitar at the California Institute for the Arts. The man with the sax and the flute is Clay Elliot, who also does some vocal work and has a degree in jazz performance from San Diego State University. Brilliant guitarist Tommy Collins has his degree in music education, and versatile drummer Mike Cannon teaches drum classes for high school students.

“”That Something”” opens up with the flute floating over the funky guitar and groovy bass-line with a great sing-along chorus: “”Girl you have that somethin’ that leaves me wanting you.””

There are songs of admiration with words like “”All I wanna do is love you, tell me you’ll always stay”” in “”Always Stay,”” as well as songs of pure passion in “”You Possess”” with the lyrics, “”You’re hypnotizing, so mesmerizing. My heat is rising, utilizing everything that feels so good.””

This is truly an album of love and is perfect for any late night with candles, a bottle of red wine and someone special.

The only criticism is that the album is painfully short and there isn’t very much room to hear the talent that can be completely expressed in a live performance. So for now you’ll have to live with the repeat button until Spaceman Spiff comes out with a full album.

With their growing success, that can’t be too far away.


Vivid Flesh in Tension

Is there anything truly unique about the sound of San Diego band Vivid? At first, not really. This is a pop-rock group with catchy hooks and great sing-along lyrics.

Their self-titled album is the stuff summer anthems are made of — the kind of stuff you will find in MP3 playlists and backyard fraternity barbecues. Vivid has a very polished sound with distorted guitars, riffs and drum fills placed in all the right places. It will fulfill your guilty fun pop music needs.

Inevitably, with a band that is trying to break into the notoriously difficult pop-rock market, there will be comparisons. So here I go with mine: Vivid is like Lit but less obnoxious. Third Eye Blind but without that annoying syrupy pop sound. Everclear? Please, Vivid blows them out of the water.

Vivid seems to blend all of the good things about American rock and gets rid of most of the annoyances accompanied by pop.

Vocalist-guitarist Terran Trousset has almost a Social Distortion vocal quality on “”More Time Alone.”” “”Relentless”” is light, relaxing and has an almost Peter Gabriel-like quality.

You can sense influences ranging from The Clash to Stroke 9. “”Renee”” and “”Everlasting La”” have a very energetic, three-chord punk-rock feeling and are sure to create a mosh pit. I see “”Funky Revolution”” prompting fist-pumping and crowd-surfing as the audience yells back, “”I’m talking about a funky revolution/ Just stop all your fuss and get on the bus!”” But fear not, all of the lyrics are not as inane.

There is some deeper symbolism about heroes in “”Youth Pilots,”” and the scrutiny of people is addressed in “”All or Nothin’.””

So, is there anything truly unique about the sonic formations of Vivid? They don’t reinvent the sounds of pop-rock, but this stuff sounds better than a lot of other groups on the radio today.

So God forbid you walk past all that Limp Bizkit and P.O.D. crap and pick up some Vivid.

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