May 1998
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Music review--Bran Van 3000 -- Glee

By Lawrence Cabanero

Canada's Bran Van 3000 strive to combine every genre that pops into their minds, from folk rock to hip-hop to metal. Featuring about 30 guest artists, the nine core group members had all the resources they needed to create a cutesy, grin-triggerin' collage of eclectic groove-pop.

The most blantant and hilarious example of their cut-and-paste skills is the track "Old School", offering a collaboration that suggests Ginger Spice and Rob Zombie meeting Will Smith on stage on open-mic night in a local night club. Though "Old School" is an example of some of the most sugar-packed candy on the album, their real appreciation for various styles shines on the more laid-back tracks that comprise the majority of the album.

Bran and the gang often rely on crooning divas and borderline "white-boy" mc's, who surprisingly strenghthen their sound more than they weaken it. Meanwhile various randomly organized music types float in the background ocassionally sprinkled with the sounds of laughing pixie-munchkins and the familiar voices of 50's educational reels. Even their remake of Quiet Riot's "Cum On Feel The Noize" stands its ground with its whispering feminine twist. Lyrically, Glee is simple and fun, yet the not pointless jibberish often paired with "happy" music. Specifically, on "Willard" and their first single "Drinking in L.A.," the vocalists are challenged to keep a straight face while singing lyrics like "I poured my heart to you/I smuggled guns for you/tons for you/dear Willard/for your sweet loving I'd risk getting shot."

The Bran Van 3000 succeeds in what Forest For The Trees was supposed to have done last year, forcing the listener onto a amusement park ride of aural twists and turns that doesn't make you nauseous at the end. As artists have shown in the past, sometimes blending only two genres together is a difficult task. Glee mixes all the CDs in the music store into one tasty disk as smoothly as Oscar Mayer uses pig snouts and cow tails to form tasty hot dogs.

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