Where All Life Hangs
The Providence Phoenix: (by Bob Gulla) 'Where All Life Hangs is a dozen emotionally resonant tunes, delicately and tastefully assembled a la Coldplay or Damien Rice, with flourishes of Badfinger.' Motif Magazine: (by Don DiMuccio) Many so-called regional acts could take a lesson from The Blizzard of 78. In fact, their new CD release, Where All Life Hangs, should be mandatory listening for any band that has aspirations of honing their songwriting skills and effectively reproducing said material in the studio environment. Even the most cursory listening of this 12-song offering demonstrates the painstaking process the quartet undoubtedly undertook to achieve a warm, analog-sounding milieu, in this oh-so-sterile digital world. It particularly delights me to the marrow to read in their liner notes words like Hammond B-3 and Fender Rhodes versus ProTools and computer sampling. But I digress from the true factor that deems this CD a great listen; These guys can write a good song! Formed in 2002, the four-man outfit hail from the Boston area, excepting the Providence-born lead singer who goes by the anomalous name of Pip. The band's bragging rights include having performed on bills with such eclectic artists as Ronnie Spector, Coldplay, Tanya Donnely, and The Throwing Muses. Additionally, several of the tracks on Where All Life Hangs were produced and engineered by Paul Q. Kolderie, whose credits include Radiohead, Hole, and The Pixies. In other words, these gentlemen seem to know what it takes to fashion a product that will be competitve in today's music market, a market currently oversaturated with half-assed efforts and uninspired drivel. But I digress again.... Right from word go, Where All Life Hangs starts off on the right note, with the beautiful 'Show Me.' Though at first blush the overall vibe of the track seems reminiscent of U2, the ensuing chord changes and melody takes the listener far away from the Irish blokes. Another standout song, 'Ordinary Day,' is exquisitely recorded - just the right amount of echo on the vocals; just the right string arrangement sitting perfectly in the mix. In fact, most of the songs on the record utilize musical elements in a tasteful and effective manner. The one track that veers the disc through a surprising detour is 'Johnny Took A Knife to Jeannette.' The song lays out the archetypal story of love: Boy meets girl; Boy marries girl; Girl cheats on boy; Boy slices up girl and buries her beneath the snow. In my sick fantasy world, Engelbert Humperdinck would cover this nugget in his next appearance at The Sands Hotel Casino in Atlantic City. There I go, doing that digress thing again.... The closing track, 'One Day,' is a beautifully soft-spoken and tastefully arranged song with no over-the-top adornments. Clocking in at just under two minutes, the acoustic ballad succinctly wraps up the album and rejects the oft-used temptation of leaving the listener bludgeoned and bloodied. In many ways the song encapsulated exactly what The Blizzard of 78 seem to be as band - disciplined and thoughtful songwriters and arrangers, with a competitive edge that should propel them into the collective conscience of a youth market yearning for quality. All digressing aside, Where All Life Hangs bridges the ever-widening gap between the excellence of yesteryear and the alternative vitality of today.