Tim Bluhm is principal singer/songsmith for Northern California's Mother Hips, a band that's been playing great West Coast-style rock and roll for the past decade. Originally hailing from Chico, the Hips have been churning out records full of highly melodic, soulfully performed and beautifully harmonized music that recalls the Everlys fronting the Stones. ...Chanteys is Bluhm's first solo outing and a great example of how recordings on ADAT are capable of sounding warm, fresh and exciting. Of course, the fact that the songs are stellar and the sounds have been captured organically certainly helps. The inherent coldness of ADAT has been successfully countered, especially by cutting vocals into one mic along with the strumming of an acoustic guitar and mixed with a touch of Fender spring reverb. It's apparent there was good use of distance with the mics, milking the ambiance of the room. Engineer Dean Kattari must have realized that taking advantage of the house where it was recorded would only help in a digital situation. Of the songs, "You Break Mine Too" is simply a classic, the kind only Tim Bluhm could come up with (and layer vocally). The sound and feel of the record brings to mind the Beach Boys' Wild Honey while lines such as "feels like my skeleton has walked out on me" read like the dark poetry of Robert Hunter. The overall effect is like surfing with a ghost. Highly recommended. (www.hufarecords.com)

Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

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