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The Ditty Bops – Moon Over the Freeway

December 30, 2009 Leave a comment

Warner Bros Records, 2006

I had vaguely heard of the Ditty Bops based on their successfully accepted debut record that had a rather eye-catching album cover, so since I hadn’t actually heard the duo, I figured picking up their follow up might be of interest.  I certainly knew this wasn’t going to be the typical rock’n’roll grab that I usually aim for because, well, two barefooted women and a casually illustrated album cover usually doesn’t scream loud guitar solos are contained within.  However, artfully and creatively done black and white album covers does tend to require a pick up no matter who the artist is, so I was more than glad to give these ladies a spin for a dollar.

Abby DeWald and Amanda Barrett are the two women who comprise this group that is supported by a few musicians when needed, but it’s interweaving vocals of the ladies that really drive this record.  The ladies can sing soft and smoothly or infused with immediacy when required, though in either case the voices are pleasing to the ear.  The spirited playing of DeWald’s acoustic guitar and Barrett’s mandolin also add to the charm and accessibility that each song brings.  The first song off the record, which also happens to be the title track, is essentially what one can expect throughout the record.  It has the pep of the band and the ladies’ velvet vocals that easily sweeps the listener up into a comfortable mood.  A couple songs, like “In the Meantime” and “Get Up ‘N’ Go”, shows a little more muscle in the variety of instruments that the Ditty Bops employ while simultaneously displaying how the ladies can sing with a more chippy, urgent air.  The duo also performs a fine, if not safe, cover of the Everly Brothers’ “Bye Bye Love”.  It’s a nice version of the song, but the Ditty Bops mostly excel with their own compositions.

Even though they don’t have the same bomp and pow, the Ditty Bops somewhat remind me of the Squirrel Nut Zippers. The duo give off an old, simplistic style that doesn’t try to overwhelm the listener with effects and force yet succeeds in inspiring toe-tapping using bright vocals and peppy musicianship. I can certainly appreciate that in this day and age and I know that many people would benefit from adding this record to their collection, for it can easily be spun to assist in building the mood for a party or in maintaining a mood while writing a paper. Simply put, it is a record that provides energy without being too intrusive, and that is one of the many qualities of this record that deserves the great Golden Dollar award.  In case you’re interested, the Ditty Bops have put out a more recent record in 2008 that one may want to check out if one is into this kind of crisp, folky sound.

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