"Uppers and Downers" 2 CD
Genres: modern pop, adult contemporary
Oct 14 - 20 2002
the story goes, Fisher was an independent band that gained
popularity by offering their music over mp3.com. The releases were
apparently propelled by the quality of singer Kathy Fisher's
voice, turning up on the soundtrack for "Great Expectations"
and eventually striking a deal with major label subsidiary Interscope
Records. While their major debut, True North, was very
critically acclaimed, it seems as if Uppers & Downers, an
independently-released, double-cd concept album is trying a bit too
hard to sound mainstream. And while, for the most part, they do
succeed, it is easy to point out the faults here. Though certain songs
("Different Kind of Wonderful," "Nothing Is Real")
succeed in being very catchy and radio-friendly, others fall flat.
Here's how the album works. It consists of two CDs, the Uppers
CD and the Downers CD. Uppers is a collection of eleven
up-lifting, happy tunes, and Downers is the polar opposite,
filled with slower, sad songs.
The Uppers CD has quite a few nice tracks to it, including
some very radio-friendly modern-pop tunes. Songs like
"Temptation," for example, use heavily programmed electronic
backgrounds and beats (largely courtesy of bandmember Wasserman's
contributions) to accompany Fisher's surprisingly unspectacular
voice. Many of these tunes sound as if they would appeal greatly to
mainstream pop fans, though indie kids would be well-advised not to
even touch this. Also under the Up banner are covers of Aerosmith's
"Dream On" and Nat King Cole's "L-O-V-E,"
the former being a very pleasant rendition, while the latter being
somewhat of a letdown.
The Downers CD, meanwhile, shows Fisher's voice in a
much better light. The combination of soothing, "adult
contemporary"-esque instrumental backgrounds and Fisher's
ethereal vocals makes it sound very notably like some of Sarah
McLachlan's work. Lots of it is very catchy, "Heaven's
Time" being a specifically hummable affair, but there are also a
few misses that may wade off repeated listens. All in all, however, Downers
is much more successful that it's more Uppity counterpart.
Altogether, Uppers and Downers will likely appeal to modern
pop fans, especially those who enjoy the music of Sarah McLachlan
and Natalie Imbruglia, as well as Fisher's previous
efforts. Others will likely be lured in by the infectious melodies,
but will be put off some of the other, more poorly-executed songs.
However, hits like "My Fantasy" and "Nothing is
Real" prove that Fisher have the capabilities to produce
some very satisfying songs.
71 min 33 sec; 23 tracks; distributed by CD