his recording marks the full-length debut of singer/guitarist Emma Anderson since the demise of her UK space-melody band, Lush. When that band disbanded in the late 90’s (after drummer Chris Acland’s suicide), Anderson eventually hooked up with vocalist Lisa O’Neill and in short order formed Sing-Sing.
The Joy of Sing-Sing amounts to a pretty neat way of establishing Anderson’s post-Lush credentials, since it is basically a joyful experience—that is, if you like your pop music full of sultry/ synth-sensual/swiveling girlish singing.
Anderson lets her voice spin circles around an atmospheric array of electronica rhythms and groove-resplendent sounds, such as the sprawling, guitar/electro-heavy “Tegan.” The Joy of Sing-Sing alternately dips into mod rock and new wave, combining drum machines, sampling, backwards guitars, dance floor bass, and a variety of styles and music genres to achieve some intriguing results.
“You Don’t Know” mixes melodic singing with Anderson’s signature guitar play, all the while being supported by highly listenable and engaging synth-strings. “Panda Eyes” is a complete ‘80s rave and “Far Away from Home" employs trumpets and whimsical singing to enhance its overall sound. "I Can See You" has sweet harmonies and "Émigré" is performed as a waltz out of the technological future.
The Joy of Sing-Sing is full of easy, flowing melodies, airy grooves, fat hip-hop beats, delicate keys and intricate lyrical schemes. On the surface it sounds like a mess, but in the competent hands of producer Mark Van Hoen (Mojave 3), it’s a sensible and seductive presentation. Anderson’s guitar work melds nicely with the synth-pop components and O'Neill, who has a had a history as vocalist for Mad Professor and Kid Loco, reveals herself to be amazingly capable of handling the challenge, occasionally joining forces with guest singers Vinny Miller ("Émigré”) and Departure Lounge’s Tim Keegan (“Keep It That Way").
Sing-Sing released a total of 4 indie singles in the UK before delivering The Joy of Sing-Sing. Anderson and O’Neill actually made an impact with those indie singles, the wildly romping “Feels Like Summer” being the most notable of all. That single is included in this recording, and thusly, The Joy of Sing-Sing stands as a full testament to the work of these two women who are steadily making a name for themselves on both sides of the Atlantic.
Reviewed by: Roxanne Blanford
Reviewed on: 2003-09-01