Gypsy Grind

Tattle Tales

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    4
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In 1999, Philippine rock band Gypsy Grind released its debut album, Tattle Tales. A five-piece group fronted by a female vocalist, Gypsy Grind's music covers a variety of sounds, from the reggae-influenced "Pambansang Bayan" ("National Land") to the Cranberries-sounding "Only In Your Heart." Another song, "Hiki" (no translation), has an ethereal, Cocteau Twins ambience to it. "Para Kay Bunso" ("For the Youngest") opens on a sing-song melody with lyrics mimicking the famous nursery rhyme "Rock-a-Bye-Baby." The rhythm guitar plays a prominent role on the album, as heard in the jingle-jangle of "Money," "Sing," "Little Witch," and others.

The title song features piano and has a foreboding feel to it, enhanced by the use of a minor key and some discordance in the piano work. The sparse arrangement used in "Tattle Tale," however, mostly serves to show up the vocal limitations of female vocalist Tina Ehrhard, who has a difficult time, it seems, singing on-key. Ehrhard's vocal limitations and lack of depth are painfully apparent in the other songs as well: "Garlic," for example, is marked by embarrassingly strained singing and littered with off-key notes. Though the band exhibits some good ideas, as heard in the gritty opening chord progression to "Sing" and the contagious bassline to "Garlic," there is an overall amateurish feel to the album. Much of the rhythm guitar heard on the album, for example, sound tinnish and not fully realized. Overall, a decent if not underwhelming debut.