Edie Brickell / Edie Brickell & New Bohemians

Stranger Things

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This band has the unique distinction of being both legendary and critically acclaimed, yet also something of a glorified one-hit wonder. After a platinum debut Shooting Rubberbands at the Stars and the massive hit "What I Am," the disappointing reception of their follow-up, Ghost of a Dog, led to a breakup that's lasted over 15 years. Can the brilliance of their breakthrough be recaptured in a very different musical climate? Well, the title says it all: Stranger Things have happened. The good news is that Brickell, besides still being a powerful and quirky singer/songwriter, joined forces with her old bandmates for purely creative reasons, rather than commercial or label pressure. Adding new creative energy to the mix is producer Bryce Goggin, best known for his work with Herbie Hancock, Trey Anastasio, and Evan Dando. This new freedom allows New Bohemians to not only groove and rock happily, as on the catchy opening title track, but go jazz-wild on even more creative cuts like "No Dinero," which finds her ruminating over what to do with no money on a Saturday night as Brandon Aly (drums) and John Bush (percussion) bang out the polyrhythms; newly recruited keyboardist Carter Albrecht jams along, swaying effortlessly from rock chords to jazz improvisation. That wild percussion extends to more mainstream rockers like the blues-inflected "A Funny Thing" and "Mainline Cherry." Other tunes like "Early Morning" and "Lover Take Me" let us know that Brickell hasn't lost her touch for catchy hooks and unabashed poetic romance. When she sings at the speed of light on the exuberant "Long Lost Friend," it's almost like she's reconnecting with an audience who has stayed loyal through a few solo efforts and years of waiting for this exciting re-emergence. As a bonus, the band can boast of being the first new pop/rock signing for Fantasy Records, home of John Fogerty, in 25 years.

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