steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion


"Uppers and Downers" 2 CD

Rawfish Records

Genres: modern pop, adult contemporary

e-mail the band

Oct 14 - 20 2002

As the story goes, Fisher was an independent band that gained popularity by offering their music over 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.


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 71 min 33 sec; 23 tracks; distributed by CD Baby; released 2002]