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The Major Labels

There is no biography for this group on All Music Guide but here are our thoughts:

This side project of Mike Viola, Bleu and Ducky Carlisle can definitely be called a "super group." A super group not only in the quality of the songwriting, performance and recordings contained on their first album, "Aquavia." But for the sheer brashness, bravado and ballsiness. They come out of the gates ready to go, with a playfulness that is refreshing and welcome.

Their album "Aquavia" is interesting because, while it initially sounds like a hodge-podge of influences and 70's pop song styles, it is actually a well constructed, thought-out collection of songs. That's not to say that some of the songs aren't pieces of songs or sketches of songs. There are a few times when I would have loved to hear a completed version of a piece of a song (the opening of "The Sweet", for instance).

The first six tracks spill out easily and can be enjoyed end to end. The opening track, "The Major Labels (Got It Made)" is their ready-made theme song and sets the tone for the whole recording, complete with introductions. That is followed by "Don't Hear A Single" - it is a standout recording. It's a track that should be on radio. It introduces the main character for the next song "Velveteen Queen."  Track 4 - "Bitter Pill" is a great example of the playfulness of the songwriting and performances contained on this album.

"Richard Randolph" takes us into a strange world of grown-ups, children and trampolines. It's an interesting piece but still well constructed and the performance is stellar.

"Hummingbird" - track six on the CD - is a perfect song. An obvious homage to other great "bird" songs that have already been composed, it fits in completely with their legacy and can stand with the various "Blackbird," "Bluebird" and other birds that are out there. Easily my favorite track on the CD.

With "Jimmy Kenney" and the tracks that follow, it's not as easily digestible (on first listen). This CD takes a couple of spins to really sink into the subconcious. The last tracks on the CD are a little more experimental (especially the final track) but they are worth the listen.

This is a CD that I highly recommend. I have lived with this one for a few months now and I completely enjoy it. I know you'll find something to love on this one too.

You can read more about them at their Myspace page:


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