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Llamalamp
  • Artist: The Oohs
  • Label: CD Baby
  • UPC: 837101155526
  • Item #: CDBYS55526
  • Genre: Rock
  • Release Date: 3/21/2006
  • This product is a special order
  • Rank: 1000000000
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Llamalamp on CD

The long-awaited third album from Midwestern popsters The Oohs, loaded with hooks a-plenty, harmonies galore, and their broadest palette of instrumental colors yet! All but two songs are Oohs originals - 'Pretty' was written by Oohs' friend Michael Cavanaugh (best known as The Piano Man on Broadway in the Billy Joel musical 'Movin' Out!'), and 'Turn Me Off' was written by another old band friend Rick Sondag. Cavanaugh has stated on many occasions how much he enjoys this version of his song, and that he likes it better than his own! LLAMALAMP shows the natural growth and maturity in songwriting, performance and recording technique that a three-plus year gap since their previous album (SATURDAY MORNING DREAM) can allow. The band is equally more economical in focus and more expansive in reach than ever before. And all this accomplished without Auto-Tune or sequencing - every sound is performed by human voice, hand or foot. Turn on LLAMALAMP and let your inner light shine! 'The Oohs have delivered their tour-de-force, upping the high standards of both 'Ear Candy' and 'Saturday Morning Dream' with more stellar songs and craftsmanship, stronger production and arrangements and a CD that will leave pop fans very, very happy.' BRUCE BRODEEN, Not Lame Recordings 'Their long-awaited third full-length! And boy it was well worth the wait! Chock full of Beatle-isms - sitars and a 'Sgt Pepper'-like guitar intro to go along with hooks, hooks, hooks and lots of patented Oohs vocal harmonies! While it does have it's moments of 60' psych pop, for the most part the disc has a real 70's AM Pop Radio feel to it! Complete with some touches of Todd Rundgren here and there! 'More Than Meets The Eye' sounds like a Steely Dan outtake! The boys worked long and hard on this one and it's paid off handsomely! This is by far their best effort yet! Very well done lads!' RAY GIANCHETTI, Kool Kat Musik 'Their 3rd and most excellent CD. New for 2006! This is perfectly executed 60's and 70's style power pop that is heavily influenced by THE BEATLES, Ben Folds, Steely Dan, KLAATU, and more! These Illinois pop masters have crafted 3 wonderful cds, all of them good! However, this is considered to be THE BEST of the three so please start with this! ***** Five star review!' JEREMY MORRIS, Jam Records 'A snappy little power pop disc that should find favor from fans of Jellyfish, The Wondermints or Big Feather. Besides sporting one of the greatest album covers of all time, the tunes inside sound very heavily inspired by 70s AM radio pop, with many of them, believe it or not, resembling Styx (in one form of the band or another). It's also the kind of disc where when you are listening initially not much of an impression is made but you have this urge to listen again and again with some definite favorites forming. Mine wind up being 'Pretty,' 'More Than Meets The Eye' and 'Turn Me Off.' Overall, their best album and one many pop fans will have no problem warming up to.' KURT TORSTER, sfkrock 'There's something liberating about listening to a confident band performing at it's best without apology and with the full expectation that the right people in their audience will 'get it.' If anyone else wants in, they're welcome, but the important thing is the band has satisfied itself and has shown some growth. The Oohs have done just that with 'Llamalamp,' a step considerably forward from their excellent 2002 release, 'Saturday Morning Dream.' As with many of the best power pop releases, part of the fun of 'Llamalamp' is playing 'spot the influence.' It's clear The Beatles remain a touchstone for The Oohs (although unlike others, these guys are as comfortable with 'I Am the Walrus' as they are with 'I Saw Her Standing There'). The Beach Boys and Four Seasons are vocal influences, and while they've abandoned some of the Queen/Electric Light Orchestra tributes they included in previous work, it's clear the members have continued to go through their album collections to find pieces to plunder. What do all of these songs have in common? Uncanny craftsmanship. That's often a dirty word in modern music, but it's also why these songs will stick in your head after just a listen or two. Each and every one is constructed perfectly. And the production (credited to the band) makes each new listen a treat. There's enough buried in these mixes to keep the manic listener occupied for weeks. The disc opens (and closes) with 'Three-L,' a grin-worthy sitar-based track that serves as a lead-in to 'Pretty,' a tour-de-force mega-mashup of tributes that becomes something new thanks to some creative ideas that don't go over the line to irritatingly clever. From the 'Sgt. Pepper' overture guitar riff at the start to the phone ring and 'Can you hear me now?' TV commercial sample, the song combines a series of 'I recognize that' moments into an outrageously satisfying whole. Are those 1965 British pop harmonies clashing with 1967-style horn and sitar sounds? At almost five minutes, it still feels like a nice 2:30 pop song. It should have been twice as long. 'Get It Straight' is the centerpiece of the second half of the album, and arguably the best song The Oohs have ever produced. A heartfelt vocal (by Frank Huston), some tasty keyboard work by Brian Curtis and magnificent backing vocals by way of The Beach Boys (by Curtis, Brian Cutright and Jim Engel) perfectly frame the 'let's try love again' lyrics. As with other songs here, you can pick out influences, but The Oohs' hybrid makes the effort original. And here's the difference between what The Oohs do as compared with so many who THINK they do what The Oohs do. 'Get It Straight' features a simple eight-bar guitar solo that's so tasteful and contextually perfect, it's impossible to imagine it any other way. THAT'S what power pop is all about, and that's what perfect power pop songs can do. 'What Have You Done With My Girl?' shows these guys can't even write a throwaway tune without making it painstakingly catchy. With a base borrowed from the fast section of 'You Never Give Me Your Money' and an attitude on loan from 'You Know My Name (Look Up the Number),' it's a song to make you laugh and marvel -- people simply don't write songs like this anymore. This shows they should. The other influences apparent after a handful of listens: You can almost hear Huston's heart breaking on 'More Than Meets The Eye,' which would be perfectly at home on a later-period Steely Dan album (except that the backing vocals are better, of course). 'Settle for Human' and 'Emotion Left Unspoken' come straight from Todd Rundgren/Utopia territory, and Todd would be proud. These are warmer, more engaging tunes than many of his flights of fancy, the kind of songs that add depth and breadth to the quality of the album. 'That's What She Said!' might as well have been included on 'A Hard Day's Night.' John Lennon could have sung it, but he could only hoped to have matched the amount of joy Huston brings to the tune. 'The End of Our Days,' a nice little shanty that might be less of a song but for some superb keyboard work. On 'Sunny Day,' Herb Alpert meets The Raiders (that opening and closing riff is straight out of 'Indian Reservation'), in a minor key. One of the best albums of the year? Definitely. Fortunately, we have it now, so we can enjoy it for most of 2006.' TIM CAIN, Entertainment Editor, DECATUR (IL) HERALD & REVIEW 'From the punny title (by the way -- if there is ever a release of early demos from this Springfield, Illinois group, I suggest it be called Primal Oohs) to the mysterious psychedelic intro snippet to having the first full song quote the opening riff of 'Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band,' I was fully set for another fun house ride with The Oohs. I'm not saying that these guys are fluffy or insubstantial, but rather, The Oohs have flash and dazzle and can show off with the best of them, knocking off some crazy perfect harmonies or throwing in a clever arrangement that is like icing on the icing on the cake. However, the showier tendencies of the band take a back seat on this album. At first, I actually missed them. A few plays of this disc quickly won me over. If the last Oohs album had a bit of a New Wave cast, this album focuses on solid '70s-style craftsmanship. On some tracks, they seem to be following in the footsteps of artists like Chicago and Ambrosia. This may not be everyone's cup of tea, perhaps. But if you like a good soft pop track, The Oohs have some to turn you onto. Like the silky smooth 'More Than Meets the Eye.' Brian Curtis plays a bevy of keyboards, while Frank Huston sings intently, and even adds a few bluesy guitar licks before and after the final chorus. This is a slice of soulful pop that would have slotted in somewhere between Hall & Oates and Boz Scaggs on a 1977 radio playlist. I could also say that about 'To Be in Love,' where The Oohs' harmony vocal abilities get a real showcase. The song mixes light R & B inflected pop with a definite '70s Beach Boys feel. The vocal interlude that serves as a middle eight is simply sublime. Other songs in this vein include 'One Step Closer to Nowhere' and 'Settle For Human.' Both these songs are ace soft rock, the latter featuring two strong hooks, in a bridge and chorus that are extremely memorable. The band adds a psychedelic Eastern music vibe (which fits the groovy cover art) on 'Strange World.' This full band composition mixes verses that are reminiscent of Paul McCartney's 'Old Siam Sir' with more of those smooth harmony vocals. On 'That's What She Said,' The Oohs fashion a crackerjack old school power pop number -- it's like Fountains Of Wayne meets Fools Face, with a pithy rock and roll chorus and yet another fabulous middle eight. This is followed by the jaunty piano driven ditty, 'What Have You Done With My Girl,' with Brian Cutright finding a melody that evokes The Beatles and Emmit Rhodes. Heck, even the drummer can sing, with Jim Engel equal to the task on 'I Will Love.' I could go on, as this album is chock full of great songs. On album number three, The Oohs really crystallize as a band, and while, as I've noted above, their songs often trigger thoughts of other artists, they don't sound like them -- it's just a similarity. They have really found a style that fits their considerable talents and sounds so natural and effortless. While there's always room for improvement, The Oohs could stay in this place for a while, and I wouldn't mind.' MIKE BENNETT, FUFKIN.COM 'Independently produced music from bands that have more going for them than the average garage band pushing out notes into the atmosphere is the essence of music. It's great to have well produced favourites like big label names but, just as well, are the undiscovered goodies that lie underneath all of those big names, under promoted by lack of big market push but appreciated by a small gathering of fans. We all know one or more of the type of band that I talk about. Some of those bands go on to garner bigger fame but most do not. They remain regionally appreciated but globally unknown. Springfield, Illinois has a small regional band called The Oohs that have been around for a few years, have a few self-produced albums out, and entertain a small legion of dedicated fans. Their music is a blend of '70s music that, at times, sprouts Beatles influences, like that heard immediately in the 2nd cut of their latest album, the cleverly titled 'Llamalamp.' The song, 'Pretty' immediately supplies a dose of 'Sgt Pepper's...' in the opening lead guitar. The song is a good one and leaves you with a higher expectation for the rest of the album, which delivers easily enough. 'Llamalamp,' largely, is a weave through a mélange of recognizable music and styles - jazz, pop, and rock. 'Sunny Day' reminds of the brighter times that the late '60s pop brought to us without the dives into the bleakness of life's more unpleasant aspects. And why not; we deserve it. I love the very short guitar leads in the middle and end of 'More Than Meets The Eye'. Every once in a while, you hear an album that is so entertaining that you have to at least mention it. It may not be for everyone, and it isn't. But even regional favourites need love too. Recommendation? Check out their myspace page, get a sample of their music, and you be the judge.' MATT ROWE, MUSICTAP.NET 'With a readily apparent love for the Beatles, keyboardist and singer Brian Curtis brings an upbeat attitude to his band's collection of eclectic pop, both paying homage to his primary influence and making his own voice heard. The album is at it's strongest when The Oohs layer on classic rock vocal harmonies, and also when Brian's piano and keyboard work adds tasty compositional depth to the songs. Arrangements are satisfyingly meaty - layered synth strings give 'Strange World' a touch of 'Live And Let Die' chaos, for example, and Brian's keyboard horns lend 'Sgt. Pepper's' grandeur to 'Sunny Day.' Keyboard sounds come courtesy of a Kurzweil PC2X and an Alesis QS6.2, and Brian also engineered the recording himself in Pro Tools LE. And did we mention the album's called LLAMALAMP?' MICHAEL GALLANT, KEYBOARD (November 2006) 'In a rock scene that is obsessed with image and style, the safest bet - if you're looking for substance over form - is the pop underground. Sure, it does seem like for many of the pop underground bands that '77 punk never happened as the fixation with 60s/70s classic pop-rock takes precedence. So why is it okay for bands like The Killers & The Rapture to shamelessly ape 80s bands like New Order and Duran Duran and get away with it? The 'cool' quotient? By all accounts, the Oohs are not cool: four unglamorous 40-something men viz. Frank Huston, Brian Curtis, Brian Cutright & Jim Engel who spend their time writing, performing and recording melodic, inventive power pop that takes the Beatles and the Beach Boys as a starting point and makes the logical connection to seminal 70s acts like Billy Joel, Todd Rundgren, Electric Light Orchestra, Supertramp et al. Llamalamp is the band's third recording effort and I daresay that it is the Oohs' best thus far. Highlights include the wondrously Beatlesque (check out the Sgt Pepper riffs) 'Pretty;' the dynamic 'One Step Closer to Nowhere;' the spry jazzy 'Sunny Day;' the Arabic-tinged 'Strange World;' the simply gorgeous 'More That Meets the Eye,' which Billy Joel would be proud to call his own; the touching 'To Be In Love,' an epic ballad that manages to be breezy and complex simultaneously; the jaunty 'What Have You Done With My Girl' & the marvelous 'Emotion Left Unspoken,' which encapsulates feel of the early Runt albums. Llamalamp is the perfect companion piece to the Beatles' Love and proves that much of the legacy of the Fab Four resides in the pop underground and in bands like The Oohs. A splendid time is guaranteed for all! A' KEVIN MATHEWS, Power Of Pop.com (DECEMBER 2006) Stay tuned for more reviews in the near future!