I know it’s not his fault, but I have issues with David Dye, the host of NPR’s Triple-A” music format that seemingly appeals to those that had a few Joni Mitchell albums in college, who can’t bare to listen to standard commercial radio and who still feel an urge to appear musically hip.
So that’s my unwarranted beef with David Dye, and it’s admittedly unfounded, but it doesn’t help that the music selection of his show typically bores the piss out of me. Seriously, it’s the kind of show my father likes.
The Be Good Tanyas’ third album, Hello Love, probably gets a lot of plays on “The World Café;” this Canadian trio doesn’t stray far from the rootsy music you would hear at Starbucks.
Throughout Hello Love the tempos and the delivery provide the same kick as a decaf white chocolate mocha: Sure, it may taste like the real thing, but don’t bet on it waking you up. And while the Be Good Tanyas build their credibility with sparse production, acoustic instrumentation, snare drum brushes and sweet harmonies, they’ve struggled with bringing any sense of excitement to a genre that already has plenty of credible performers.
Essentially the only thing that separates the Be Good Tanyas from their field of peers is their unique vocal delivery. Samantha Parton delivers her leads with a gentle and sweet quiver. Frazey Ford, on the other hand, delivers hers with no hint of enunciation and throughout the album she sounds like she’s utterly exhausted. It’s intriguing at first, but by the fourth listen, you’re the one exhausted trying to figure out what the hell she’s singing about.
As on their previous releases, Hello Love includes several cover versions. They do a great job with fellow Canadian Neil Young’s “For The Turnstiles.” The Tanyas briefly demonstrate some excitement with it, and the cover is a great choice for their talents.
The same cannot be said for the album’s hidden track, an impossibly mundane cover of Prince’s “When Doves Cry.” It’s the type of choice that virtually guarantees a frame of reference for passive listeners while managing to frustrate those that understand if you’re going to tackle one of Prince’s most familiar songs, don’t sound like you’re doing it to make more people familiar with your own output.
Besides, who needs a Prince cover to garner attention for you when you’ve got Starbucks and The World Café already firmly planted in your corner?