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Odd Fellows

4.6 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Led by singer/songwriter/producer powerhouse Jamie Hoover, The Spongetones have been making essential power pop records since the early '80s. Odd Fellows includes more of their finely crafted, hook-laden punchy rock originals and a cover of The Everly Brothers hit On the Wings of a Nightingale (penned by Paul McCartney).

'What can one say about the Spongetones? Quite a lot, actually. Pop Gods? Merseybeat masters? Once upon a time. A fun-loving bunch of good 'ol Southern boys who sound nothing like .38 Special? You bet your life, Groucho. I could mention that the 'Tones have been in-crowd with pure pop fanatics ever since the early '80s, when their fab one-two punch of Beat Music and Torn Apart neatly updated the sound and style of the early Beatles without resorting to geeky mimicry. I could go on about subsequent records, like the cooler-than-cool Where-Ever-Land, whose leadoff tune, the crazy Forget About May, somehow managed to combine folk, punk, and Merseybeat cohesively. Or maybe their cheekily titled, mid-'90s opus, Textural Drone Thing (which certainly was textured, but minus any measurable drone), which brought some stylistic expansion and echoes of the Zombies to the Spongetones' merry pop party. Oh yeah, can't forget 1991's Oh Yeah, which saw a slight return to the Beatley days of yore while gently shoving the 'Tones' sound into the here and then. I could blab about how these four ace musicians -- Jamie Hoover, Steve Stoeckel, Pat Walters and Rob Thorne -- used to inspire young girls to want to purchase bottles of their perspiration during the band's early days (I don't make this stuff up, folks). Oh, and the four aces write, sing and play pretty damned good, too. Finally, I could tell you about the boys' new one that you're about to spin, called Odd Fellows. It rocks. It pops. It's where old meets new. Where melody and harmony collide, but no one gets hurt. Where the Spongetones offer you, dear listener, some of the finest songs they've ever tracked. Where four Liverpool-lovin' dudes from the South finally realize a dream and record a song by Sir Paul McCartney himself (On the Wings of a Nightingale). Anyway, give Odd Fellows a listen or eight and see if it doesn't grab you like many of your favorite records do. Me, I'm still listening fervently while trying to imagine what in the name of Ringo anyone would do with Spongetone Sweat.' - John M. Borack, Goldmine Magazine

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 20, 2000)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Gadfly Records
  • ASIN: B00004TCGZ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #563,764 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By Jason A. Hoffman on October 2, 2001
Format: Audio CD
After a five year absence, the princes of power pop have released Odd Fellows, an amazing collection of superbly written songs that combine early Beatles merseybeat, hook-filled punchy rock, and classic harmonies. The first impression one has of the Spongetones is that of pre-Sgt. Pepper Beatles having been transported to today. This is much more than just mimicry as these fun-loving rockers have captured the spirit of those early albums and updated the sound and style, much like The Rutles but without the cheese and onions.
Opening with the harmonica laden "You'll Come Running' Back", you'll swear it's a lost Beatles track that was left off Anthology 1. "Dark Brown Eyes" combines more of this retro sound with Everly Brothers harmonies and a dead-on Paul vocal style in a gentle love song. More snappy rhythms are to be found in "Eyedoan Geddit", a roaring up-beat party song that shows a big Cheap Trick influence. The gentle "Home" treats the listener with a great singable George Harrison melody backed with some superb finger-picking. As much as I like the Beatles, my two favorite songs on the album are those that show almost no Beatles influence. "Love Song To Mrs. Parker" is a sorrowful piano-driven song about chances not taken with lyrics such as "I would have held her that night / I would have pulled her from the fight / I could have made her smile just once/ In another time." The album ends with my other favorite, "Much Too Slow" with its heavy, punchy, power pop rhythms that remind me of the best of Badfinger. These four gents from North Carolina have soaked up the best of the last few decades of music and spew forth incredible songs as easily as most people breath. With just one album, The Spongetones have converted me to an instant fan!
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Format: Audio CD
The new CD by the Spongetones "Odd Fellows" contains new catchy pop selections with their unique odd twist: two of the lead vocalists sound creepily like Paul McCartney and John Lennon. I first heard them on the radio when "Oh Yeah" came out, and assumed that someone had unearthed some rare Beatles track. The Beatles sound-alike thing comes full circle on Odd Fellows with track #3: "On the Wings of a Nightingale" penned by Sir Paul himself!
But the Spongetones can definitely stand on their own musically and lyrically. Harmonies are tight, melodies are signable (if you're the type who likes to sing along in the car or shower), dance to, and have lots of fun listening to. There's a good mix of ballads ("Dark Brown Eyes") and rockier numbers ("Eyedoan Geddit" --- hint: sound it out... :-)
I'd recommend listing to the music samples and checking the CD out. If it appeals to you, definitely look into finding the group's earlier albums (although in my opinion "What-Ever Land" is a bit of a disappointment).
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Apparently, most of the earlier Spongetones albums are no longer in print. When I found this out after initially becoming a fan, I was sad. No more. After hearing "Odd Fellows," I am convinced that the only way to go from here is forward. I can't wait for their next release. It's ironic they're better known in Japan than in the US, isn't it? Keep writing those hits, Steve and Jamie. Every song is a keeper from here on out. What a band!!!
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Format: Audio CD
These guys are doing more than simply channeling the Beatles, circa 1966. They are not just a Beatles cover band.
They are performing original songs with a style and sound that go beyond what the Beatles were doing in the mid-sixties.
The Spongetones have a modern sound, but a simplicity that harkens back to Rubber Soul and Revolver.
For any fan of the Beatles, the Knack, XTC, Marshall Crenshaw, Cotton Mather, the Shazam, the Merrymakers, Nick Lowe, and/or Phantom Planet.
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Add another group to the list of outstanding, unheralded Beatlesque artists. This collection is absolutely impeccable -- not a weak track to be found. Now if someone would just LISTEN, and not write it off immediately as "old folks" music!
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