Rockapella 2


J-Bird Records, 2000

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Rockapella is a band you've probably heard, even if you haven't heard of them. Anyone who has endured the plethora of commercials on American television has seen this a capella quintet appear in commercials for Folger's coffee. (They've also been the "house band" for the TV show Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego?)

But for all the success they've had worldwide, they are just about to release only their second album in America - aptly named Rockapella 2. Although these guys are hardly the next thing in boy bands (they've been together since 1987), they have the sound and magic that rivals any of the bands out there today - and this could well be the time for their star to rise, especially with such a strong album.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The group - Barry Karl, Elliott Kerman, Scott Leonard, Jeff Thacher and Kevin Wright - brings back memories of many different artists. Rhythmically, I can hear tinges of Bobby McFerrin in the vocal percussion department. Vocally, you can hear the influences of groups like Boyz II Men and the Backstreet Boys, even though Rockapella very much has their own sound that comes through clearly. But the pop sensibility is there, as heard on the lead single "Tempted" (yes, a cover of the Squeeze classic).

The true magic on Rockapella 2 isn't in the Squeeze cover, though. Instead, it's found on several other tracks, such as "Doorman Of My Heart" (which almost has a comical calypso beat to it), "Bring Some Love" (which should be the next single, if I could call it) and "This Isn't Love". In fact, of the 11 full-length tracks featured here, there is barely a lemon to be seen or heard. There's a minor slip at the start of the album, which doesn't quite get off as smoothly as they would have liked on "That's The Way". Fortunately, Rockapella quickly recovers and is able to salvage the track.

What strikes me about Rockapella 2 is that it's a fun disc to listen to - and it shows people that you don't necessarily need electric guitars and pounding drums to lay down a solid beat. (It does sound at times like some type of a beat box is being used, although the liner notes assure the listener that everything you hear comes from the band members themselves.)

The one question I have about this disc: why include the two Folger's jingles? I guess there's a kitsch value, but they really don't add too much to the disc itself. It's not that big of a deal, though - I mean, we're talking about 78 seconds worth of material, hardly anything for me to bust a vein about.

Rockapella 2 is a disc that undoubtedly proves the talent of this group, and they could well give some of the boy bands out there a run for their money if they're given a fighting chance in the marketplace. Pick it up. Give it a chance. You'll be surprised how quickly you get sucked in to their world - and you won't want to leave.

Rating: A-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2000 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of J-Bird Records, and is used for informational purposes only.