Elizabeth Aubrey
The Battles
The Chamber Strings
The Ex
Rosa Chance Well
Señor Coconut
VA: Charm (Soundtrack)
VA: Rarewerks
Wow and Flutter
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rosa chance well
Rosa Chance Well

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Sometimes bands are just like romantic relationships. Who hasn't had friends who date someone for a while, then part ways, then get back together, then take a break, then reunite again? The vital question in this situation would be, "Is the timing right at last?" In the case of Rosa Chance Well, the answer would be a resounding "Yes".

After playing together in Samuel, which broke up six years ago, Dean Taormina and Vanessa Downing tried to keep it all together by forming Rosa Chance Well. After only one live show, they moved on. Downing band-hopped from The Good Furies to The Wicked Farleys for a stint, and then hooked up again with Taormina. This time around, the two have something to show for all the years they've worked together.

Opening with a simple, quiet song ("A Wonderful Life"), Rosa Chance Well evokes thoughts of an open-mic night at which they're the only performers who are actually any good, tossing off a simple song to blow away all the covers by Dave Matthews zealots or Jewel-alikes. As the disc moves along, the band uses distorted guitars, whistling and a random sound effect here and there to create an album where melody is supreme, and Downing's voice is given free reign to impress with its straight-forward style.

Although it has been covered by such varied acts as the bluegrass band The Seldom Scene and Cajun singer Queen Ida, CCR's "Bad Moon Rising" is once again reworked here -- this time in a moody style reminiscent of Cat Power's cover of the Rolling Stones' "Satisfaction". Both of those originals had a happy, hopeful feel, in sharp contrast to their lyrics. Here we have a more literal interpretation. Moody lyrics. Moody music. In many ways, it works better.

Rosa Chance Well occasionally throws in an upbeat song. "We Wore Long Sleeves" is one of them, and it helps to give the record a bit of balance. You can't be mournful all the time -- unless your name happens to be Morrisey.

I don't know what plans Taormina and Downing have for, say, a year from now, but if we're lucky, these two will stick together. Why ruin a good thing?

-- Amy Leach
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