(01 October 2011) The New York Cityh-based Antigone Rising have evolved since their highly successful acoustic live album From The Ground Up (review). Featured at Starbucks Coffee shops, the 2005 album is considered the band's breakthrough recording. In the gap since that time and their new studio project 23 Red (Rising Shine Records (USA), 2011), the band recorded a yet unreleased album entitled Tales From Wonderland in 2008, believed to be the last with the band's 2005 lineup.
The last few years have seen a series of changes in Antigone Rising's lineup. The band also went independent, establishing Rising Shine Redords in conjunction wth their departure from Lava. In support of the release of their new album, Antigone Rising's live shows with the Bangles have been a a huge success, generally playing to sold out venues and being extremely well received.
Antigone Rising have continued to grow musically. 23 Red is the latest in a long discography dating back to 1996. Their recordings include: She's Gone A Little Mad (1996); Snapshot (1998); New and Used (1999); Rock Album (2000); live albums SaY iT! an-TIG-uh-nee (2002) and Antigone Rising's Traveling Circus (2003); From the Ground Up (2005); the unreleased Tales from Wonderland (2008); Live From NYC (2010); and the download only single "This Christmas" (2010).
Antigone Rising's new record is comprised of ten outstanding studio tracks and a tight running time of just over 35 minutes in contrast to their almost one hour 2005 live acoustic recording. The new lineup features Nini Camps (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Cathy Henderson (lead guitar, keyboards, vocals), Kristen Henderson (bass, vocals) and Dena Tauriello (drums, percussion). The expense of studio time likely led to its shorter running time in comparison to their 2005 project.
The first all-studio recording many will have ever heard by the band, Antigone Rising enthusiasts will immediately notice more polish and the smooth quality and more feminine texture of Nini Camps' lead vocal in the sound of the new record. The band's tight arrangements and harmony vocals continue to provide the foundation of Antigone Rising's sound. Indeed all of the band's recordings, except one studio track from the Live From NYC EP have been recorded live since the year 2000. The album's tracks are all accessible and radio friendly running lengths.
23 Red opens with an obvioius single called "No Remedy," Nini's smooth lead supported by lush harmonies and rich guitar-laced arrangements. The dense vocal harmonies and tightly produced arrangements on "Everywhere Is Home" couple perfectly to the lead singer's vocal lines. As a contrast to the album's more upbeat numbers, the acoustic texture of "Borrowed Time" gives it more of a ballad feel and permits Nini's vocal to shine. Another obvious single from the album is "One Foot In" whose arrangements feature a notable keyboard part. Listen for the country-styled vocal work.
Electric guitars glisen in the arrangements of "Gracefully" a track full of lush harmony vocals that back Nini Camps' evocative lead vocal line. The density of 23 Red's production is perhaps most notable in this mid-album track. And while loaded with guitar gymnastics, the upbeat and percussive country-styled arrangement of "Who Knows What Tomorrow May Bring" reveals each of the parts with incredible imaging.
Album standout "Pink Sunglasses" is a verse-chorus styled rock track. Listen for the sharp contrast between Nini Camps' gorgious lead vocal and the backing harmonies. Eatliz fans will recall that their hit "Attractive" was also about pink sunglasses! The lead singer is clearly featured above the band's arrangements with an evocative lead vocal in "Breaking Me," whose backing vocals are more subtle and set back.
The album's second standout is "You Say You Want To Leave." As in "Breaking Me," Nini Camps vocal lead has been pushed right up front. Listen for the power and clarity of her voice in the album's penultimate track. Pay particular attention to the electric guitar solos in the arrangement. The album concludes with the percussive rock track, "Goodbye." Dense arrangements, lush arrangements and a memorable melody will leave listeners longing for more.
Antigone Rising's first studio album in over a decade has certainly been worth the wait. The CD is accompanied by a gorgeous tri-fold digipack. Their new lineup builds on the band's longstanding resume of great recordings.
Also known for their amazing live
performances, Antigone Rising have delivered an outstanding and well produced project with 23 Red.