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The Side Project
Fourteen
by J. Doodle Lipscomb
11.05.06

Just bought this cute little gem at a cute little record store in the cute little town of Spokane, and I cannot seem to get enough of it.

The album appears to play out in a blank, darkened photography studio room that is as vulnerable as it is unexpressive, until Suzie Anderson’s rich, honey-like vocals and the nakedness of a piano throws an element of passion in the darkness. The Side Project is from that cute little town of Spokane, but recently ("recently" meaning three years ago) transferred over to Seattle.

Suzie’s alto vocals blend a rich poignant tone to the words ending each verse, such as on “Whirlwind” when she concludes with, “Well, I am bored,” and with a smooth pitch that stretches across the vast transitions between chorus and verse and from the first intro on the album to the last. The album begins with the cacophony of “Break it Down,” building up the volume to a quiet finish into a professor’s recorded talk on a lesson in psychology. “My World” begins with haunting riffs off the acoustic guitar which leads into a grrrl rioted chorus. And of course, there is the provocative question laid down simply over the synthesizers of the slightly unrecognizable Def Leppard cover “Love Bites.”

Perhaps the greatest musical achievement of this album would be the changing tempos of “Hurricane” beginning with the mellow content tune mimicking a warm afternoon following the immediate intensity of the quick battle vocals between Suzie and the tenor Ben Bradford.  Both vocalists are not even in pitch along Parker Moosman’s use of synthesizers which can get annoying, but glancing into the overall context of the music with the song title, I realize that no voices could ever reach even alignment inside an actual hurricane.

Pop this album into your car stereo while you are circling around downtown Spokane at midnight without a true destination while searching for a place to rest and then getting lost, frustrated, nostalgic, and cold through Washington Boulevard on your way home with the saddening “Whirlwind” on repeat.  It will warm you up.