Frazier Chorus

Sue

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Frazier Chorus aren't what they seem. On Sue, the band's debut album, the group utilizes synthesizers, trumpets, flutes, and clarinets to paint evocative mental images. Most often the music and Tim Freeman's soft, heavily accented vocals paint postcards of England in the summertime. But Frazier Chorus' coyness is deceptive, as the sarcastic wit and sometimes nasty observations of Freeman are often buried underneath the LP's sunny surface. In the otherwise genial "Dream Kitchen," for example, Freeman confesses, "Your life is too good to be true/I think I'll ruin it for you." Usually hailed by fans of '80s electro-pop, Frazier Chorus are refreshingly different from many of their contemporaries, namely due to Freeman's talk-singing style and the incorporation of classical instruments. They have a jazzy side as well, best heard in "Forty Winks." The band could be viewed as forerunners of Pulp, but Pulp already existed -- albeit they were completely obscure -- when Sue was released in the late '80s. Nevertheless, "Sloppy Heart" has graphic yet poetic lyrics about premature ejaculation that would fit perfectly in Pulp's '90s discography. With its beautifully soaring flutes, it's easy to just listen to "Sloppy Heart" and be carried away, completely oblivious to Freeman's erotic story line. However, deciphering Freeman's words is a large part of the fun. Sue may be too subtle for some; the tracks are usually slow and quiet, but they grow on you, especially the breathtaking "Storm." "Dream Kitchen" and "Typical" landed on a few new wave radio stations in the late '80s, but it's the lesser-known songs such as "Sloppy Heart" and "Living Room" where Frazier Chorus create long-term appeal.

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