Jungle & Sky: GrooveLily Sampler 1996-1997

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groovelily is the last type of group one expected to find in the rough-and-tumble Manhattan rock scene of the mid-'90s -- a world dominated by its grunge, industrial, punk, funk-rock and gothic music. Rejecting anger and aggression in favor of a softer and consistently melodic -- yet edgy -- pop/rock approach, leader singer/violinist Valerie Vigoda, keyboardist Brendan Milburn and drummer Max Langert (who left the group in late 1996) earned a small but seemingly loyal following. Full of enticing melodies and a strong harmonic punch, Jungle & Sky sometimes brings to mind 10,000 Maniacs -- not because the bands sound anything alike, but because its approach so often sounds like amplified acoustic music. One of the things that makes groovelily distinctive is Vigoda's unorthodox use of the violin. But even without it, Vigoda's expressive singing and the Queens trio's poignant, often introspective lyrics would have made the album a winner.

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