Bimboo Wizard

Thee Ultra Bimboos

Ranch Records/Universal, 2003

REVIEW BY: Chris Harlow


Despite an album that missed meeting my preconceived notion of what it was supposed to sound like (ahem!), I'm going to have to admit that it's going to be hard to throw darts at the resulting effort when it comes off sounding so natural and mature. And for those of you that know what bands typically play in to my strengths (go check out my bio if you don't know), you might be surprised to read that I'm going to tout a minutely fuzzed-out pop album. Egads. I'm sure that those who know me will now be convinced that the world is surely coming to an end.

So, why would I have guessed that Thee Ultra Bimboos' Bimboo Wizard was anything but a pop album? Well, I misinterpreted the band's association with their Finnish countrymen, the Flaming Sideburns, and past tour dates with the Hellacopters as reasons to think this female quartet was of the punked-up garage variety. Even the liner notes of my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Bimboo Wizard credit the Hellacopters Robert "Strings" Dahlqvist and Anders "Boba" Lindstrom as contributing guitar and piano work on several of the tracks.

Hmmph. So much for being able to draw logic from an education in higher learning. As they say, life goes on and Bimboo Wizard will serve as a nagging reminder that it's best to restrain from wearing blinders.

As a teaser, the first track on Bimboo Wizard does have a Hives/Stooges thing going on. There's even a chorus in "Get There Fast" where the queen wizard, Suffeli Bimbo, professes to "kick some ass." Past that, I'd liken Thee Ultra Bimboos as sounding like a neutered version of the Go-Go's. The strength in that comparison can be found with a finished work that comes off sounding truly eclectic.

Anyone wanna queue up Rubber Soul now that the mood has been set?

Speaking of moods, a fraternity party is not what I think of as I listen to "Pa-Pa-Party." When I hear this track, I have certain visions of a scene of 10th grade granola-ites sitting on the floor Indian-style contemplating world peace strategies while sipping herbal tea.

And that might just be the only true lowlight I can find on this album. The opening whispers from Suffeli Bimbo on "Mars is Rising" captivates as equally as the soft acoustics of the opening bass line. The song is as uplifting as it is hypnotizing and shows the obvious maturity of the band blending in the perfectly timed odd sound from the drum kit and guitars.

Changing gears, "Black Mustang" is a saucy boogie that benefits from Dahlqvist's string-bending. Normally, I'd have dead-ringed the instrumental beat as a song from any Flaming Sideburns album. Obviously the vocals keep that from happening as the last I checked, Sideburns vocalist, Eduardo "Speedo"Martinez is no bimbo.

"Sparkles" would probably be the song that would strike me as the pop hit on the album if it had a slightly catchier chorus. Without it, I'll defer the honor back to either "Mars is Rising" or "Guided by Shadows" solely on the strength of the surf rock intro that song gives us.

Well, I've learned a lesson by listening to Bimboo Wizard. Simply put, it's that any genre of music -- if performed creatively -- can not only be tolerable but rather enjoyable as well.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2004 Chris Harlow 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 Ranch Records/Universal, and is used for informational purposes only.