home   site updates   review digest   reviews   featured artists   links   about us  
Current concise reviews of the albums by adult alternative, contemporary, and crossover artists. Images of album artwork and links to both internet-based resources are always included. Click on the title to view the article.

Digest Index
Current Digest
Instrumental Digest
The Good China CD Cover
Image © 1998\r\n\r\nThe Good China  

(08 April 2000) The Good China is a rapidly emerging alternativerock band from San Diego, CA featuring the stunning vocal work of frontwoman Ren Zenner.Their debut self-titled album (The Good China (USA) TGC 54321, 1998)includes a short introduction and eleven full-length well-produced alternative rock tracks. Check out soundbites at the band'sband'smp3.com website.

Self-produced by The Good China, the technical production quality ofthe recording is tops, with vocals mixed clearly and well above thebalanced instrumentals. Gilbert Kuory plays guitars, Ricth 'Bloody-Bone'Shefke plays bass and Dave Marinesi plays drums. Lead and backing vocalsare provided by Ren Zenner. She has an incredible voice and looks tomatch as a photograph within the lovely booklet accompanying the CDillustrates. Complete lyrics are also provided. Although they don'tlike comparisons, the band's sound can be favourably aligned to the new lineup of 10,000 Maniacs.

Even though "Leave The Light On" is a ballad, it is richly instrumentedand thoroughly arranged with powerful vocals making for a interesting contrast within a song. The band's most accessible number, typically as their demo (downloadable from mp3.com for example), is "This Is Your Life" where evocative and melodic and spine-tingling vocals join well-arranged guitar and lush keyboard instrumentation. "The Machine," "Funny These Things" and "D-Day" are rocking numbers with heavier guitar-based instrumentation, soaring vocals and lovely melodies.

Gil Koury's guitar work is a main feature of "Falling Down" whereas lead and lovely multi-tracked vocals remind us that we're listening to The Good China. We especially liked the sensitively sung solo vocal partsand supporting saxophone in "Strange." Ren's vocal work dominates in"Late Again" and "Another Day" with lead being effectively balanced by backing vocal work. Both guitars and vocals are actually reminscent of Leger De Main's sound(review). The album concludes with the rocking"Burning Up" which features an almost spoken-style vocal, lots of guitarand crisp percussion. A sultry jazz-influenced sax-laced bonus track is embedded within the final track beginning at approximately 4:10. Soaringvocals and accompanying instrumental arrangements are tremendous.

The Good China's debut album is a great collection of vocally-lacednumbers featuring the everso talented Ren Zenner. Clearly the band areat the beginning of their musical career and have a bright future. Wortha cross-country journey for further exploration, especially for the vocalwork, the album is a must listen!

last updated on: