Floating Opera
"Burning Lighthouse"

(Spectral Operator Records 2003)Floating Opera - Burning Lighthouse

With a sound titled "Shakespeare Machine," it is no surprise that Floating Opera have interesting, to say the least, lyrics. Integrating the lyrics with instrumentation made up of electric guitars with traditional strings, brass and multiple lead singers (Lori Allison's vocals, however, are heard on most of the tracks), Floating Opera's "Burning Lighthouse" is a mix of rock styles.

Sounding a little 80s with plinking accented by non stop guitar riffs and joined by understated drums, "Crushed Velvet" is a perky and upbeat rock opener while the slow piano driven "Ocean" uses descriptive lyrics to depict a bus ride ("While people snored around me, their hats over Cheshire eyes, their cowboy shirts they fall and rise") and a post office ("The post office smells like mothballs, people smell like breakfast. The coffee's on somewhere in the back. The postmaster coughs and yawns, shuffles through the mail"). Floating Opera grab your attention as "Palookaville Moan" comes in with force, rocking and catchy. With pattering drums creating a softer samba-type rhythm on "Arbus," the lyrics paint a slightly crueler image ("A picture of her, so tired it hangs off the page. The weekend look of a stepchild out of his cage") while "Shakespeare Machine" retains the soft sound and adds electric guitar, stronger making it stand out, here and there. On "Believer," Floating Opera create a riff with an excellent sliding violin part which later sounds slightly out of tune -- which really means it fits into the song nicely.

"Doorways" patters quietly and smoothly while "Agnes In Furs" has a more upbeat rhythm that sounds nostalgic but not quite like The Velvet Underground's "Venus In Furs" by any stretch. "Wheel you back behind a screen, shave you where I've never seen. I think of a dirty joke, quite by accident, and choke it down with shame, shame, shame," Chris Wilson declares humorously on "Resignation Day." Opening "Shapes I Brought Back With Me" with piano jazz and up to a mid tempo shuffle of sorts as Heidi Ore takes over lead vocals with her strong voice. "Burning Lighthouse" closes with a simple but nice acoustic version of "Ocean."

Floating Opera's memorable lyrics and instrumentation make "Burning Lighthouse" a worthwhile listen. The instrumentation offers something a little different but still safe while the lyrics offer catchy lines and occasional smirks. Floating Opera offer up slightly twisted but serious rock that avoids the mainstream sound.

B+

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