The Standards

In Perfect Harmony

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The quintet proved how they stand out from the crowd emerging from Utah college campuses with this disc. Not only do they originate from further north, but they find ways to make a name for themselves. That's easier, of course, when all the members of the group have the same name. Their strengths are brotherly harmony, creative presentation, and daring themselves into new vocal territory. Their version of Van Morrison's "Crazy Love," for instance, attested that they can hang on to more than just generic standards like "Lean on Me" (the first track). Maybe the funnest facet of the Standards' repertoire is the inclusion of lilting '50s-style rock side by side with contemporary ballads. It's difficult to classify the brothers as true a cappella, however, because they have no regular vocal percussionist, a staple of the genre. They also fall into the seemingly inevitable a cappella trap of recording a handful of songs, each of which showcases their vocals, but when lined up on an album have little in common and make it difficult to listen straight through; for conclusive evidence, listen to how the tropical "Dance of the Mamba" doesn't gel when sandwiched between the reverence of "Prayer of the Children" and the adoration of "My Song." While closer to the Backstreet Boys and further from barbershop, this CD is still a lot of fun.