Savannah Morning News
Liquid Ginger's second album has all the makings of something that's going to po
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Web posted Friday, December 5, 2003
--Special to the Savannah Morning News
Liquid Ginger gives pep to pop
By Keala Murdock
Savannah Morning News
Local band Liquid Ginger's second album has all the makings of something that's going to pounce onto the pop scene.
While pop music brings sugary images to mind, one only has to hear lead singer Ginger Fawcett belt out a note to realize those bubbly sweet expectations quickly implode.
Guitarists Barr Nobles and C.J. Perrine, keyboardist Rick Betz, bassist John Pritchett and drummer Bob Hack, are melodically edgy and smooth as well.
For fans, the three-year wait for a new, self-titled CD is over. For those new to the band, it's worth heading over to Ibiza Nightlife on Saturday for the release party.
IF YOU GO
What: Liquid Ginger CD release party
When: 10 p.m. Saturday
Where: Ibiza Nightlife, 121 W. Congress St.
For more info: Call Ibiza at 572-1584 or go online at liquidginger.com
"I don't really like live bands, but I do like them," said Rebecca Anderson, who works at Ibiza.
When Anderson says "really don't like live bands," she means it. Period.
But the tough music critic/bartender asked to move her work shift from the third floor to Ibiza's first floor Saturday night -- just so she can listen in.
And she's going to get an earful.
Strictly focusing on the CD, the album demos the band's ability to tackle everything from pure rock, a lil' country and some saucy nightclub blues.
The first handful of tracks spur intense rock energy.
With a voice Britney Spears wished she had, lyrics more mature than Avril Lavine's driver's license and an attitude that could rival Gwen Stefani, Fawcett creates an urge for listeners to tap into their inner rhythm and sing along.
Add Fawcett's vocals to heavy guitar riffs with solid drums beats, and listeners are naturally prone to fits of air guitar, head banging and bouncing around. Be warned.
The second track seems ready for top radio play.
Images of driving along back roads, hands on the wheel and the music blaring from the speakers appear with the catchy track: "Not Meant for You."
The song's title says it all. What a perfect song to listen to after a break-up.
One cannot help but think past the band's pep playing, "Poor dumb sucker." So awesome. So wise. Get movin' girl.
Consider the lyrics: "I refuse to play your games, but I refuse to let you win. Don't pull me down to your level. But I'm finding that it's not easy to do."
Fawcett said the past few years have provided inspiration for lyrics.
"With relationships in the band and friends, it's been fun and emotional," she said. "For listeners, I would want them to really listen to the lyrics and I think most people can comprehend it. Most people have been through trials and tribulations."
You may call it pop, but the lyrics are right on the mark.
After track six, listeners get a variety pack of music.
Acoustic guitar, piano and violin accompany country sounds, rock, a ballad and ending soul mix.
She's no Sarah Vaughan, but one can't help but sway.
"I played it for the guys and they got a kick out of it," Fawcett said.
It stuck as the end-of-the-night song.
"It was so much fun," Fawcett said laughing. "We're in Savannah -- we gotta have a blues song."
Liquid Ginger release their second full album of ear candy
Local pop-rockers Liquid Ginger release their second full album of ear candy One rather lamentable aspect of Savannah's original music scene is that the overwhelming majority of groups in this town break up without ever recording - let alone actually releasing - a professional recording.
Some of the most creative and determined groups this town has seen over the past two decades too often disintegrate with little more than a shoebox full of low-fi live audio tapes and a few hours of camcorder footage to show for their years of hard work and dreams - making it extremely difficult for onlookers and archivists to adequately assess the scope and evolution of our music community.
However, in most cases, having a wealth of solid material is only half the battle. Artists also need to have a wealth of time at their disposal. And, quite frankly, crafting and marketing a truly impressive product usually requires the most basic form of wealth: money.
While digital technology, bedroom studios and home CD burners have helped to drastically lower the costs of creating and manufacturing independent albums, they've also lowered the bar of what is considered acceptable product.
These days, poorly captured tracks are regularly "pressed" (or, more accurately, burned) onto Best Buy blanks, slapped inside a Kinkos cover and blithely pawned off on the public as full-fledged records.
Almost gone are the days when unknown songwriters or bands would squirrel away cash in the hopes of blocking out a few weeks in an established studio, where they'd furrow brows and cross fingers (perhaps till they bled) in hopes of not blowing their one shot at possible immortality.
It is refreshing to know that despite this rampant "socialization of audio" there are some indie acts who still recognize the value of going all out and doing things the old-fashioned way.
Liquid Ginger is one such band, and although their brand-new album was recorded completely in the digital domain, the band sought out a seasoned engineer with an impressive resumé to track, mix and co-produce the album with them. As a result, their eponymous disc comes across as a shining example of dedication to both pop songcraft and modern recording technique.
However, it wasn't always set to be that way. After cutting their debut CD Can You Hear Me? at Atlanta's Exocet Studios, the group became enamored with the mobility and relative ease which home-based recording can provide, and set out to make their next album completely on their own. After several months of fits and starts, they abandoned that approach, and headed back to Atlanta.
"We had been struggling as a band to decide how we wanted to approach the second record," explains guitarist Barr Nobles. "Eventually, those of us who wanted to go to a tried-and-true studio sort of won out."
For most of this past September, the band holed up in a state-of-the-art facility that in the past has been used by such big-name artists as Elton John, Smashing Pumpkins and The Dave Matthews Band.
"We worked with Zack Odom up at Tree Studios in Atlanta.," says Nobles.
"He's worked on a lot of platinum albums up there. He's done a lot with Ludacris, plus Whitney Houston and Three Doors Down. His credentials are just endless."
Odom was relatively unfamiliar with the band's output prior to this, but that seemed to make little difference in the quality of his work, says Nobles.
"He knew our background, of course, but I don't think he wanted any preconceived notions about what type of band this was. We gave him the first CD, but I'm not sure he really even listened to it, to tell you the truth. I think he wanted to get a fresh start. Basically Ginger would sit down with one of us on acoustic guitar and we'd just go through the songs for him. That gave him a feel for what we were all about, and he'd offer some input if he thought of something we could do to improve things."
The end result is a ten-song album that showcases the band in what could be termed the best possible light.
Clocking in at just under thirty-seven minutes, it's an extremely airwave-friendly collection of short, hummable tunes, - only three of which actually break the four-minute mark. Packed with fat, humbucking guitar tones and an acoustic drum sound that borders on the type of ringy wallop favored by neo-soul bands like The Roots, Liquid Ginger is a dramatic sonic improvement over the group's previous effort.
Perhaps most noticeable, however, is the difference in frontwoman Ginger Fawcett's vocal tracks. Everything from her mic technique to her pitch has improved, and it's refreshing to hear her nail notes and harmonies that in the past might have come off reedy or mannered.
But are the bandmembers themselves as thrilled about the overall results as their loyal fanbase is likely to be?
"Yeah, we really are," answers Nobles. He says the group as a whole was never completely pleased with their debut disc .
"The reason why this one's self-titled is that the first CD was always just a demo. I don't think we ever meant to put that out for sale. But WRHQ started playing 'Never Be Heather,' people started asking where they could buy it, and we were kind of forced into releasing it. We had run out of cash before we could spend the time we wanted to get everything on it just right. We've sold close to five thousand copies of that CD - which is great - but to us, this feels a lot more like our first real CD."
In addition to that sense of pride in a job well done, Nobles also says that the few industry people who have heard the disc think it shows great potential for mainstream radio success - which the band sees as key to their career goals.
"We've had great feedback from the folks at Tree. And I don't think they're just stroking us. I mean, they know what's going on. They've got platinum albums hanging on their walls, and they're telling us we've got a hit album here. We've had some honest conversations with them and we told them not to blow smoke up our ass. Tell us how you really feel. There's an A & R guy in Atlanta who's heard it and he just loved it. He's already planning to shop it around to some folks in L.A."
Still, despite initial positive response to their latest work, Nobles admits there's no way in the world to tell how this record - or this band for that matter - will end up.
"In the end, people talk a lot of stuff, but ultimately it comes down to whether we have a radio hit or not. That's what's gonna push us forward. This band is never gonna hit the road in the back of a van and do the $200 a week tour, you know? The reality is we all have obligations. We all have families or we're rooted some way or another, so that's not the career path we could take. We need to get picked up by someone who feels we could make a big impact. So, that's what we're shooting for."
And what will Liquid Ginger do if their new album is not picked up for national distribution and promotion?
"That's a good question," admits Nobles. "That's like the ten million dollar question in our band... What exactly are we gonna do? I'm not sure how to answer that, but I do know we're going to work this region and push this CD with everything we have. I feel like we have a much better chance this time around than we ever have before."