Neil Smythe | Refrains

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Pop: Quirky Pop: with Live-band Production Moods: Mood: Brooding
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Refrains

by Neil Smythe

Tortured singer-songwriter.
Genre: Pop: Quirky
Release Date: 

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Tracks

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1. Butterscotch Sunday
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1:37 album only
2. Pinocchio's Woodpecker
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2:24 album only
3. Onions Make Me Weep
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1:40 album only
4. Teen Hobo
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1:41 album only
5. Niagara Falls
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1:41 album only
6. Wishbone
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1:58 album only
7. Little Match Girl
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1:35 album only
8. From Sick With Love
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1:56 album only
9. I Wanna Be a Dummy
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1:55 album only
10. My Sister
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1:37 album only
11. I'd Get Lost
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2:03 album only
12. Acrid Marsh
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2:29 album only
13. Peace, It's a Gasser
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1:23 album only
14. Conformity, I Love You
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1:53 album only
15. My Shoulder
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1:31 album only
16. He Was a Judge
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1:49 album only
17. Who's a Chameleon
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1:47 album only
18. Too Bad It's a Fallen World
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1:37 album only
19. Gleek
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1:15 album only
20. Aloha Baby
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2:04 album only
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Neil Smythe: Refrains is the third volume of a trilogy of recordings by the artist sometimes known as Victor Banana and is, sadly, the only which remains in print.

When the creator of these works abruptly retired from the music business shortly after this album was released, he requested that when existing stocks of his recordings were depleted no more be manufactured.

As a result, the previous works: "Split," the first Victor Banana album (when the group was a childlike and playful quartet) and "Like A Velvet Glove Cast in Iron," the darker soundtrack album to accompany Dan Clowes' acclaimed comic series, vanished from stores and the internet, and they (along with the group's memorable live performances) remain alive only in the memories of Victor Banana's cult-like following.

The artist remains adamant about his decision that his work not be heard, and so this album (only because of its larger initial pressing quantity) remains the only fragment still available for purchase. But that's your good luck, for in many ways the Neil Smythe work is the masterpiece of this tiny oeuvre.

Painted in broad, freshly-colored strokes on a dark canvas, Refrains explores deep themes in quirky ways, with a larger ensemble than Victor Banana's earlier recordings.

Here are the players who helped bring Neil Smythe to life:
Sonia Sanchez--flute
Celeste Moreno--oboe, fiddle
Yoshiko Yeto--clarinet
Danny McGough--President organ
Jim Goulden--vibraphone
George Woods--electric guitar, trumpet
Max Ferguson--acoustic guitar, mandolin, banjo
Dean Opseth--acoustic guitar, mandolin, ukelele
Tim Hensley--accordion, vocals
Sheri Ozeki--bass, copyist
Joe Berardi--drums
Danny Frankel--drums
Craig Levitz--drums
Sheryl Farber, Lisa Jenio, Ilene Markell--background vocals


Reviews


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Ashley Holt

Why have you forsaken us?
Though I'm sure the man himself won't believe it, the brief body of musical work recorded by Victor Banana has always been the most dependable source of inspiration for my own humble musical efforts. His fantastic Velvet Glove soundtrack, which remains my favorite recording of all time, inspired me years ago to dust off the 4-track and start taking my own songs more seriously. VB (or Neil Smythe, as he's known on this release) mines the rich history of sonic exploration in the classic hi-fi era to fortify his frighteningly creative pop compositions. Even at his silliest, he's quite simply one of the most gifted songwriters ever to put tune to tape. Add my voice to the chorus that begs WHY?!? Tim/Neil/Victor - WHY have you turned your back on this music? For the life of me, I can't understand why you'd ever want to bury this beautiful work that's been so fulfilling to others.

Scott Mercer

A Lost Mastersmirk
Just about the only pop pastiche inspired by the overwrought work of the 1970's musical lounge lizard and Great White Wimp known as Rupert "Pina Colada Song" Holmes. Masquerading as the epic musings and doodlings of Aviator-glassed AM-radio-maestro Neil Smythe, this was masterminded by Tim Hensley of cult pop group Victor Banana. Please, Tim, come back! We need you!!!!

Nick Yulman

What a wonderful album
I love this album. I remember having a hell of a time tracking it down in the 90s and then simply devouring it. It was everything I wanted music to be (and still is). The arrangements are beautiful and the songs are packed with clever ideas and turns of phrase. It calls to mind an even more cartoon-like Van Dyke Parks or even odd, angular Mingus songs like Weird Nightmare. It makes me a little sad to think that the man behind it has stopped making music but at least we have this marvelous work.