CD REVIEW: Bluebird and Skoko - Shake your Mojo Sista'
By Levi Canfield
Artist: Bluebird and
Weakness: Vocal pitch and harmony, Elementary lyrics
The 2009 debut by Bluebird and Skoko explores the duality of his baritone voice and her sultry shrieks over 16 songs. Heavily influenced under jazz and bluegrass this album meshes two generally different artists together for one heavy collaboration. Both veterans in their respective genres, Bluebird has been sloshing around since the 80s when he openned the 1980 Italian tour with Muddy Waters. Skoko on the other hand was born and raised under the punk DIY scene. Tearing up the indie rock scene with her band, Cut, she has performed with the likes of The Hives and the Jons Spencer Blues Explosion. Skoko has been exploring her soul with various forms of art, and traveling all around the planet. Finally upon meeting Bluebird she stated, “I want to sing the blues”, and this album “Trust Your Mojo Sista” is the offspring born.
The album begins heavier on the country twang with “Girl’s Minds Are Tricky” leading all the way to the single “Trust Your Mojo Sista”. Bluebirds capable blues styling’s fuses the horns into a groovy beat that is hard not to move around to. Further into the CD the duo explores the deeper blues and jazz possibilites, fully recognizing the mixing quality of keeping the listener interested before taking them into the unknown. The production of the CD case alone is laudatory. The entire albums production was coated with saccharine to gloss the listeners eye. The overall orginality of the case itself says more to the artist who made it then the performers themselves, but its still part of the album. Truth be told it worked very well, enough to make me pick it at least. Lyrically, the album shines with Skoko’s pop sensibilites to keep it simple stupid. Even though they are definitely catchy at times, they can be tedious. This causes a double edged sword effect. While being easily remembered, they can easily be forgotten a few hours later.
The overall vocals surround the disc were generally distasteful. Skoko’s ability to (or lack thereof) hit notes are a mute point. When she tries to draw out a note it sounds like a balloon deflating. Skoko is the prime example of a tone deaf singer. At moments when trying to cover up this fact she just sings louder only to draw more attention to the issue. If her singing wasn’t bad enough, the lyrics for some songs sound just outright absurd when heard. On the song “I’m A Hooker” the chorus just relies on her singing “I’m A Hooker Baby/I’m A Real Bitch/I’m A Hooker Babe/I’m Your Sex Witch” out of tune with heavy focus on the repetition. Every time its repeated, the image of nails on a chalkboard keep occurring. This image also reappears when Skoko tries to harmonize with Bluebird. His deep baritone voice doesn’t match well with her high squeels only making a further dissonance of the mashed up vocals.
The possibility of this having merit beyond the realm of amateur blue country jazz is far low. Yet, this album wouldn’t be awful for stealing a few songs from for a mix. The album tends to draw itself out pretty far to the finish line, especially on the last two songs that sound like live spoken word sessions. A carefree vibe is undeniable between the two singers, their overall elation of singing together is apparent through out the album. The biggest gem is the background band playing harmonic riffs and grooves through out the album. Probably fairing better as an instrumental album, the brutal vocal assaults don’t tear it down completely. Not something recommended to fans outside the genre, this album will definitely give fans of blues and country something to chew on.
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