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CD REVIEW: Nanyana - "12 Song Demo EP"
By Gian F - 12/21/2002 - 01:15 AM EST

Artist: Nanyana
Album: "12 Song Demo EP"
CD Review: Genre: Pop Rock
Sounds Like: Gwen Stefani/Natalie Merchant
Technical Grade: 8
Production/Musicianship Grade: 9
Commercial Value: 9
Overall Talent Level: 10
Songwriting Skills: 10
Performance Skill: 10
Best Songs: Something About You, A Thousand Miles Away, Vanity Fair, You Loving Me
Weakness: None
CD Review: This band impressed me long before I even heard their CD; with their well designed internet press kit (IPK), their professional but personably written letter asking for a review, and the suggestion that I listen to the CD while driving. I did just that while commuting from Oakland to Fremont. I thought my long distance journey was going to begin when I got on the freeway, but it really began when I put on their CD. The first element of this band that commands your attention is the intense, emotive, hypnotic vocal performances of their lead vocalist, Nanyana, (also the name of the band) which instantly elevates them above so many other bands in this genre.

Her bandmates do an excellent job of making this a collaborative effort by providing her with strong backing vocals and a multi-textured, musical canvas that she skillfully uses to paint dazzling stories with pure emotion and clever lyrics as her tools. When is the last time you heard someone use the word discombobulate in a song? In "You Loving Me Forever" she writes..."This world is full of so much commotion, so much going on it discombobulates my concentration..." With lyrics like that it was very easy to maintain my concentration on the creative and musical potency of this band which was punctuated by the swinging jazz section in the same song that came out of no where.

As a reviewer/critic, it was challenging to find much to criticize about Nanyana, but because I have worked intimately with record company executives I know that some of them might say things such as: The songs need to be "produced" more. Meaning that they could sound a little less musical, with a little less "jamming" - which would also make them shorter. They may also hear that they don't have "edge." Meaning that they are not controversial enough to market to a young hip-hop rock oriented youth fan base that likes a high dosage of profanity in their lyrics.

Advice: Don't change a thing! You have done a masterful job of playing within the tight parameters of the commerical, radio-friendly time frame (four minutes) and still being true to your roots as performers. If you guys persevere, you will all have big mansions "east of the sun and west of the moon."

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