CD Reviews 29 Sep 2009

sexyester cd coverSEXY ESTER AND THE PRETTY MAMA SISTERS – Get Your Love On

(2008   Self-Release)

You’ve got to love a band that sings about their cats, driving down East Johnson Street, just playing guitars in the yard and being in love. These are some of elements that make Get Your Love On quintessentially Madison. See the band live and you will agree that they are one of the more interesting – and promising – bands to come along in some while.  How can they go wrong with a dynamo like Lyndsay Evans fronting them (there is no one in the band named Ester; to find out how they got their name, read the feature story here)? This woman’s got some powerhouse pipes and that only gets suggested on Get Your Love On. Since this recording the band has made a drastic change in style, approach and material, adding more edge and power along with some new, additional members.

That makes Get Your Love On even more of a whimsical timepiece for them and for us. Everything about the album says retro – but in a good way – and all the way back to early rock, when it was heavily blues-infected and acoustic instruments were still a necessary ingredient. In fact, just about every track reminded me of something, though damn if I could put my finger on it most of the time and damn if I cared. I can say that “Soldier Song” reminds me of a Harry Chapin melody (Cat’s in the Cradle”) and “The Tambourine Song” reminded me a bit of “When the Levee Breaks.”. There are also references to “I Got You, Babe” (naturally) in “Madison Sonny and Cher” one of my favorite tracks and one that gets my vote as Madison Theme Song. It also has a distinct “Mr. Bojangles” vibe.

Evans can handle ballads like “Get Happy” and folk/pop like “The Simple Life” well enough, but one waits in anticipation for her to let loose as she hints at on “The Tambourine Song,” “Well Fed” and the choruses to  “Madison Sonny and Cher.” 

The album was recorded by Paul Schluter at his Megatone Studios and this was a wise move on Sexy Ester’s part. Too often new bands neglect their initial recording, treating it as a novelty, or rushing to put out material that they will just re-work much of on their follow-up “real” recording. Get Your Love On succeeds in informing its listeners that Sexy Ester is serious from the get go, and it’s superior sound quality is testimony to the band’s intent without being over-produced. The album has a natural flow and feel; this is this album, by this band, at this point in time and one senses immediately that they are on a continuum.

I’ve found myself listening to Get Your Love On repeatedly. There is something immediately endearing about it and this is an awful valuable trait for a band to have. There is every indication that this album is the band’s proverbial “wetting of its feet” and that they on the verge of finding the right combination of instrumental muster that will propel Evans, and the rest of them, on to greater things. Here’s hoping that happens. 

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About the author

Rick Tvedt

Rick is publisher of Local Sounds Magazine, formerly Rick's Cafe, Wisconsin's Regional Music Newspaper. He is also the Executive Director for MAMA, Inc., a non-profit organization that produces the Madison Area Music Awards and raises funds to promote youth music programs.

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