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Review:  New Middle Class / New Middle Class

2nd Mortgage Records

 

 In case you are not familiar with the acoustic duo New Middle Class, they are Mike and Barbara Borok of Jefferson Valley, NY (Hudson Valley area).  Barbara is usually the lead vocalist, an earthy soprano with a great range and a strong expressive voice.  Mike is the guitarist, main songwriter and harmony vocalist.

 

 If you have seen NMC live, you know that they are energetic, lively performers, they write intelligent lyrics, choosing their words deliberately, and they are full of personality.

 

 What a relief - their self-titled debut CD captures all the personality, energy and creativity that makes their live performances so enjoyable.  And NMC have obviously given as much meticulous care to this project as they do their songwriting and live performances, from the choice of songs to the quality of performance to the striking photos inside the booklet.

 

 They have chosen 11 songs, all NMC originals.  The arrangements and mixes left the duo up front, so it almost feels like they’re in the room, even if you’re listening on a cheap portable player like mine.

 

 Highlights of the album include: “I Was Born” opens the CD with a three and a half minute romp through Narcissism; “Buy One Get One Free” is an ear-tickling Middle Eastern sounding arrangement lamenting the seduction of the shopping mall; “She’s Cool” features Mike on lead vocals - a fun tune about a nearly unapproachably hip chick.  In “Television Sky,” two people sitting and fantasizing in front of the TV meet via TV magic.   “Dan & Joe (and Sometimes Mo’)” is an inside joke, but NMC are hip enough to realize that, and they put the explanation in the liner notes.  It’s an inside joke worth getting inside.

 

 Hooky and tastefully produced enough to be commercial, but probably too intelligent and perhaps a little too unique for the masses.  Of course I could be wrong.

 

 - Carla Ulbrich

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