Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Word of Mouth
Genres: Folk, Jazz, Pop, Broadway & Vocalists
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The silky smooth a cappella music stylings of Toxic Audio
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 12/01/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Toxic Audio is an a cappella quintet comprised of baritone Jeremy James, alto Shalisa James, scat singer Michelle Mailhot-Valines, bass Rene Ruiz, and tenor Paul Sperrazza. They have been around since 1998 and their major gig was doing six shows a day for a year for Disney/MGM Studios in Orlando, Florida. It also seems they won the national championship at the 2000 National Harmony Sweepstakes. "Word of Mouth" is there first album with a real label and is made up of choice tracks from the three albums that the group recorded and released on their own for sale at their shows and off of their website and new recordings.
The previously recorded tracks are "Stand by Me," "Why Don't We Do It In The Road," "Route 66," "Putting Words in My Mouth," "Turn the Beat Around," and their magnum opus to date, "Voices Carry." I mention this only because this short list shows the group's range of interests and it also evinces that they have had their act together for some time. I discovered the group because I was like to put together cover versions of famous albums and I was working on the Beatles "White Album." But what caught my eye was "Voices Carry," because I am a big fan of Aimee Mann. Toxic Audio turns it into an 8:09 mini-opus that references such things as the bridge from the Go-Gos' "Our Lips Are Sealed." Besides, the title of the song is pretty much the Toxic Audio missions statement. So that one track was enough to sell me on this group (plus with five voices I can mix and match which one I try to sing along with).
Of course a group like this singing "(Put the Lime In The) Coconut" is going to be fun, but what stands out more are songs where they find creative ways of adding things. I mean, "Stand By Me" is one of the shortest great songs of all time and they find neat things to do at the beginning, in the middle, and in the end to make it twice as long. The only song that disappointed me was "Bring Me to Life," although I like the lead harmonies but I have heard Amy Lee sing this is concert and most people will suffer in comparison. Still there is something to be said for a fun version of a Goth rock song and this is a minor caveat all things considered and they more for make up for it by doing "If I Only Had a Brain." You should be able to look over this play list and see enough tracks to whet your interest, but the key motivation here will be that you are already a fan of a cappella singing, in which case you seriously need to check this quintet out.
If at that point you become hooked on the vocal stylings of Toxic Audio then you will be happy to know that there are those three other albums out there and you would only be duplicating an half-dozen songs from this one if you go forth, find, and purchase them. With tracks like "Thriller," "Hooked on a Feeling," "Walk the Dinosaur," and "A Toxic Tribute to Pat and Debby Boone," and knowing what the group does with songs you have never heard of, I think you can feel safe about expanding your Toxic Audio music library. Assuming, of course, you are captivated by what you hear here."
Amazing vocal style, skill, and sound
C. Friend | Orlando, FL | 04/08/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The thirteen tracks on this album show off the incredible range (both in style and pitch) of this talented group but also the flexibility and potential of the a cappella presentation.
All five members of Toxic Audio are highlighted well on this disc -- Michelle's pure, fun scat in "Splanky", Paul's impossibly complex vocal percussion in "Turn the Beat Around", Jeremy's creative and humorous raps in "Putting Words in My Mouth" and "Caffeine", Shalisa's gorgeous melodies in "All I've Got to Do", or René's innocent and playful work on "Coconut". The hands-down best track -- the one they're most known for -- is "Voices Carry", an eight-minute voyage through an exquisite range of talents, abilities, styles, and intensity. It's nothing shy of breathtaking.
I'll admit I'd like to see René highlighted a bit more here (their independent releases had a few more tracks where he took the lead), but all in all it's a great introduction to a remarkable ensemble. If you've never heard them before, this shows off their talents quite well. If you've been fortunate enough to catch them in a live performance, you'll appreciate the collection of tracks included. All in all, it's a great showcase of a cappella music."
Sandra D. Skversky | 09/19/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This group is amazing.....every sound heard on this cd, and others, is all made with voices. I heard them live at a convention I attended and rushed home to look them up on the internet and then to buy some of their music. Great for the whole family...my kids love them."