Revision - What It Is

Recently signed with a reputable booking agency and proudly touting their second CD, Ithaca's Revision are giving things a try in the hard-touring climate of cafes and clubs around the northeast and beyond. If more people get to hear their latest album, What It Is, the quartet may find their upward journey a bit more manageable.
Living in Ithaca certainly seems to stoke the musical fire in people, and the creative college town has given birth to numerous HGMN Member Bands over the past 10 years. It's safe to say that Revision will ultimately join the ranks of Sim Redmond, John Brown's Body and the like in our ever-growing family. And the album is, well, it is What it Is. It's the thing about Revision at the moment.

The strolling melodies of "Storm" kick off the album and set the upbeat tone that pervades throughout. "Boogie Man" shimmys with lowdown funk grooves, but not in the usual loosey-goosey manner. Revision always brings strong songwriting and solid structure to the forefront. "Anthony Michaels" is a sashaying, gliding journey of sensible rhythms and triumphant dual-guitar leads. The paired-up "Unwind" and "Great Unwind" comprise a studious intro and a slow-burning instrumental backdrop to Nick Bullock's heavy-hearted vocals. The jazzy instrumental parts and tight vocal harmonies bring to mind the beloved sounds of Percy Hill. Fat guitar-chord breakdowns and smooth solos conjure flashes of Steely Dan.

"Ithaca Weather" is a joyful hip-pop excursion with the regionally relevant lyrics "Ithaca weather...get used to it, 'cause it ain't getting better." "Follower" is a bonafide downer-jazz tune, with a sophisticated progression and prickly lyrics. The Carribean bounce of "Azul" is a fresh idea at this point of the album, and it shows the breadth of the bands influnces, some of which are unveiled with a quick study of their cover songs: Santana, Led Zeppelin, John Scofield, Stevie Wonder, and Herbie Hancock to name very few. "Azul" and the downtrodden acoustic shuffle of "Can't Count On You" are mid-album capsules that serve well to show the wide range of Revision's ability.

The boiling beat of "Intuition" pushes the atmosphere back toward the funky/jazzy realm with a slow-grinding swagger and a cathartic guitar solo. The superbly-crafted tightness of the album's first half returns in spades on the sublime electro-mood-rock of "Transparent" and the organ-and-clav-fueled "Bad Intentions", two burners which are seperated by the woeful ballad "Afterlife" and the gentle strains of "Familiar Face." The dramatic "Resolution" is another pleading, darkly-lit memento with a catchy, meaningful hook laced with violin and cello. As you come down "Resolution"'s slope to the end of the album, John Petronzio caps the affair with a reprise of the endearing "Boogie Man" melody on piano.

What It Is is a dynamically varied wake-up call to the music world from a band that, throughout the album, proves that they have a cavalcade of ideas and mountains of songwriting talent to help them come to life.

--Bryan Rodgers 

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