Bittersweet – The Mating Game (CD)

Where an act like Goldfrapp comes forth with a minor amount of trip-hop influence, Bittersweet takes that sound to its logical extreme with the beginning of this disc. There are hints during “The Mating Game” of acts as diverse as The Propellerheads and Bjork, while the sound of the band is something that sounds as if it was pulled lock stock and barrel from the mid nineties. Something that seems to be the oddest development in Bittersweet’s sound has to be the inclusion of a very funk and roots-based sound, something that comes forth more than one time on this album.

When coupled with the sedate vocals that dominated “The Mating Game”, the ending result is different to say the least. The music present could make it onto the alternative radio stations without much of a problem, but it takes an intrepid listener to get all of what Bittersweet is attempting to do with this track. “Bittersweet Faith” is the most diverse track that one can find on “The Mating Game”. This is due to the fact that the song is predicated, modeled around a brand of jazz that sounds more “The Girl From Ipanema” than anything; the overall tone of the disc moves beyond that simple confine and takes Bittersweet to James Bond theme territory. Bittersweet craft a distinct sound that draws heavily on the trip-hop of an earlier period; the end result (“The Mating Game”) is something that individuals of all stripes can sink their teeth into.

“Moody” is a morose track that is even more meandering than the previous tracks on “The Mating Game”. Even though the track is one of the shortest on the disc, the stretched-out compositions that dominate this track are enough to make it feel as if Bittersweet is serenading you for the better part of five minutes. This talent, this ability to bring individuals into the band’s world is exactly why Bittersweet should make a name for theirself after this album has time to be picked up. The style is cohesive without being uninspired; what results is a diverse disc that never fails to tweak a listener if things break down ever so slightly. Bittersweet cut track after track that are ready for the radio, but one question does remain. Is the world ready for Bittersweet and their special brew of funk, jazz, pop, and rock? The fact that a track like “Dirty Laundry” can go and incorporate a salsa sound shows the band as master of their domain.

Top Tracks: Dirty Laundry, Moody

Rating: 5.9/10

Bittersweet – The Mating Game / 2006 Quango / 11 Tracks / http://www.bittersweetmusic.com / http://www.quango.com / Reviewed 25 March 2006

[JMcQ]

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