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Burlap to Cashmere
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ANYBODY OUT THERE? (1998)
Anybody Out There? - Click to view! Rare is a musical discovery so dramatic that it changes the entire outlook of a genre. In what could be best described as Caedmon's Call and Big Tent Revival meeting over salsa and chips on a sun-bleached afternoon in Gibraltar, seven piece band Burlap to Cashmere premiere with their project Anybody Out There? The New York band drives on the melding acoustic guitars of John, Mike and frontman Steven, the steady bass work of Roby G., airy, light keyboard via Josh Zandman (who is curiously missing from most of the band's photos), Scott's excellent percussion and all is held together by drummer Theodore (or most drummers would want you to believe that!). Opening with the upbeat "Digee Dime," it clear that these songs aren't of the cheese-pop nature; rather, the band draws the listener into a musical mood and works from there. Showing their musical diversity, track two has a light, yet still solid, college pop feel. And then the real hit. "Basic Instructions." In a breakthrough of acoustic sound, b2c captures all the rich feeling of a Spanish serenade--using the text of John 3:16 as a basis. If you just can't get enough of the Eastern Mediterranean, keep this disc spinning to the moody "Divorce," the contemplative "Skin is Burning," a sinister pirate chant called "Scenes" and my personal favorite, "Anybody Out There?" these tracks (and, in part, the entire record) have that foreign flair that I feel is b2c's real appeal. Other highlights include the poetic single "Chop Chop" and the hammond-b3 based, straight up pop cut "Mansions." Burlap to Cashmere's approach is a real breath of fresh air: your third or fourth time through some hard-hitting track, you really get the point of the lyrics. Profound truth can change your life. It's no wonder they signed first to general market heavyweight A&M Records, and second only to Sixpence on Squint Entertainment. Producer Steve Taylor, Squint's founder, says of Burlap, "A&M signed them because they make great music. I wanted to work with them because the lyrics to this great music glorify God." Through deep insight and spiritual emphasis, Burlap to Cashmere really strike a chord in acoustic music.
- Josh M. Shepherd
April 1999
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