Weddings, Parties, Anything

River'esque

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    9
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AllMusic Review by

Following the release of the independent Donkey Serenade and an apparent renewed interest in the band, Weddings Parties Anything (W.P.A.) signed to yet another label and released this CD. Initial pressings of the CD featured a different sleeve, and did not include the "Bonus" CD, Garage Sale, which had been available previously at their live performances. The album also represented somewhat of a new beginning for the band. With the same line-up from Donkey Serenade, the band has their trademark sound, mostly due to Michael Thomas's impassioned vocals, but there seemed to be a new energy in this release. In particular, Jen Anderson's violin playing seems more in the foreground, producing a very melancholy sound to the typically sad songs of regrets, lost loves, unrequited loves, and the struggles of being musicians. The sound on this CD leans more toward alternative country than folk, but it works incredibly well, especially on songs such as "House," "Luckiest Man," and the two stand out tracks, "A Decent Cup of Coffee" and "For a Short Time". Both songs perhaps the most melodic songs Thomas has ever written, with very emotional lyrics. Pure magic. Riveresque demonstrates that this band can make fantastic albums, and demonstrates the incredible writing ability of Michael Thomas. It is everything that is good about this band, and a great purchase for fans, and casual listeners alike. The "Bonus" CD, Garage Sale is reminiscent of Donkey Serenade, which features a much looser sound, and three cover versions, including Tim Hardin's "Reason to Believe", Gene Clark's "From the Heart", and a wonderful version of Ewan McColl's "Sweet Thames Flow Softly." Overall a pleasant CD, but it does not live up to Riveresque, and sounds more like outtakes or B-sides. Fun for fans, but not much of an interest to the casual listener.

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