March 30, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 94  

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Both Hands
Twin Towers

Grab that bottle of Jack Daniel’s off the shelf and join the crew. Wil’s latest release makes for a good time with a few friends and a bit of booze.

The Calgary-based singer-songwriter (who actually goes by the name of William Mimnaugh) has a voice similar to Elton John; however, Wil uses a wide range of sounds — including a banjo to keep his songs laid-back and straightforward.
The album begins with an energetic style in the first track, “Mama,” and gradually builds from there in the second track, “4 String.”

“Spitfire” keeps a healthy pace in the closing stages of the disk. The album ends on a mellow note with an acoustic tribute to the title track.

This summer, the Albertan rocker sets out on a cross-Canada tour promoting Both Hands — his first disc backed by a major label — so check your local listings for a show near you.

—Erol Özberk

Greg Macpherson

G7 Welcoming Committee

If there was ever an artist accused of having no substance to his music, Greg Macpherson is the exact opposite. His new five song LP, Maintenance, is either one of the most politically oppressed compilations ever made or a fantastic poser attempt by Macpherson to seem as if he has been sadistically wronged by the world.

Although his past is somewhat difficult to dissect, Macpherson’s songs attempt to reveal a very detailed picture. Most of the songs are dedicated to the corporate takeover of rural Canada (Macpherson is a beloved Canuck) and the lengths he will go to protest these changes.

While there doesn’t appear to be many instruments used on the LP, Macpherson dazzles listeners with his folk-rock guitar work, and his rough, edgy voice complements his lyrics masterfully.

Bottom line: Greg Macpherson apparently hates the world, but because of his voice and guitar skills, you won’t mind hearing about it.

—Benjamin Mann

Aaron Booth

Our Last Escape
Endearing Records

With his tousled hair and wire-rimmed glasses, Aaron Booth looks like a 9-to-5 man who works behind a desk every day to make an honest living. His music happens to reflect this image. There’s none of the glitz of a Britney Spears album, none of the angst of a Linkin Park album and none of the bling-bling of a Jay-Z album — only the simple, melodic folk pop tunes of a quiet Calgary boy.

Booth centres his arrangements around his sweet tenor voice and acoustic guitar and then expands with a keyboard, flute, horn and vibraphone accompaniment, giving his music more colour than the usual confessional songs by boys with acoustic guitars.

Listening to Our Last Escape feels like going home from a world of pretense to a place where people are real. It also feels like having a nice, long conversation with a good friend over a cup of coffee. You know Booth will be honest with you, and you know exactly how he feels. And you get the feeling he’ll understand you too.

—Mel Wong

Cypress Hill

Till Death Do Us Part
Columbia Records

One word: boombastic!
Cypress Hill has finally dropped their seventh studio album, Till Death Do Us Part. Once again, the quartet from South Central Los Angeles have gone past their rap-rock origins to bring an eclectic mix of urban styles and dark sounds.

Boasting 16 super-cool tracks, Till Death Do Us Part features incredible cameos, including Damian Marley, Prodigy, the Puerto Rican Tigo Calderon and more. Even Tim Armstrong (Rancid/Transplants) is featured in the first single, “What’s Your Number?” which is a ska-rock rendition of the 1980s classic by The Clash.

There is certainly a great deal of instrumental experimentation on the album, including use of the harp, saxophone and trumpet, combined with a touch of Latin flavour.

Cypress Hill resurrects its passion for the thug life, which is clearly exemplified in songs like “Bong Hit,” “Busted in the Hood” and “Another Body Drops.”

It’s definitely an excellent album to lay back, relax and have you “smokin’ like a genie.”

—Gabriella Barillari



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