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  The Rosebuds  


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The Rosebuds are a fun little rock combo from North Carolina consisting of vocalist/guitarist Ivan Howard and his wife/keyboardist Kelly Crisp, with assorted drummers providing rhythmic assistance. They tend to play Atlanta a lot, and i have seen them three or four times. And yet, this is the first Rosebuds release that i have reviewed, and this review almost didn't happen, thanks to my lack of organization. (Basically, i somehow stuck the physical CD for this EP in the CD case for another release, and couldn't find the darned thing for months!)

Anyway, The Rosebuds' sound is typified by rich male voice (Howard has a lovely, expressive voice that is not too deep), guitar with a slight twang to it (some tremolo and a bit of slide), and keyboards. It's a happy sound, light and airy, yet energetic and exciting at the same time. The Rosebuds can make you want to move, when they want to. This can be seen on the first track here, You Better Get Ready, which is one of the catchiest, danciest songs i have heard in a long time. It starts off with Howard and Crisp vocalizing wordlessly over a flurry of guitar, drums, and keys. Then the rhythm comes in, an unstoppable rolling menace of keys and drums that explodes with guitar and harmonized voices on the chorus. This song moves along so wonderfully that i can barely believe that is over in two minutes. The Rosebuds pack a lot into the tiny song.

Up next on the Unwind EP is a ballad, the lethargic El Camino. I think this is a song mourning the loss of one's car. It moves along with tapped drums and droning keys, all backing Howard's voice as he sings mournfully about this car. A strange song subject, but then again, they are from North Carolina. The mellow feel of this song continues with Is There Room?, which has a slightly faster pace, but a similar feel with strummed guitar, brushed drums, and Crisp singing a lovely backing bit to her husband's vocals. This is a really pretty little song.

Unwind, the title track, is next. This song feels almost like something from Inspiral Carpets. The drums are recorded in a completely different room from the rest of the band (creating a lovely distant thudding noise), and Crisp turns in a wonderful performance here while also using her keyboard to create chimes, organ drones, and tinkling piano bits. The rhythm here is great, and, even though this song isn't the fastest tune here, you cannot help but bounce your foot along with it.

The next song, Edmund Street, is somewhat busier, with Crisp playing her keys in a way that is reminiscent of the old Cramps classic, Goo Goo Muck. Seriously -- there is something in the rhythm and the staccato keyboard hits that reminds me of The Cramps. Anyway, this is a fun song that gets positively noisy in the middle, as the keyboards swell up, and Crisp and Howard almost scream their vocals.

Finally, The Rosebuds end with I'd Feel Better, another toe-tapping dance tune. The rhythm is a monotonous 4/4 beat, with Crisp, Howard, and guest drummer all hitting at once, creating a real strong rhythmic sound. Again, another wonderful tune.

Wow, it's hard to believe that this EP is just 22 minutes long. The Rosebuds pack a heck of a lot of fun into that short time frame. There isn't a single mis-step on this EP. I heartily encourage you to obtain a copy, play it loudly, and bounce around your home. It will make the world seem like a better place.

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