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Winger, Kip - 2000 Songs From The Ocean Floor

ARTIST: Winger, Kip
ALBUM: Songs From The Ocean Floor
LABEL: Frontiers
YEAR: 2000
CD REISSUE: 2006, Sidewinder Music, 60018-2


LINEUP: Kip Winger - vocals, guitar, keyboards, bass, mandolin * Andy Timmons, Reb Beach, John Roth - guitar * Mark Tatum - bass * Rod Morgenstein, Ken Mary, Johnathan Arthur - drums * Robby Rothchild, Mark Clark - percussion * Paula De Tuilio, Frank Mendina - backing vocals * Moon Zappa - vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Cross * 02 Crash The Wall * 03 Sure Was A Wildflower * 04 Two Lovers Stand * 05 Landslide * 06 Faster * 07 Song Of Midnight * 08 Free * 09 Only One Word * 10 Broken Open * 11 Resurrection * 12 Everything You Need

WEBLINKS: www.kipwinger.com

Cruel Beavis and Butthead jibes apart, I was never too familiar with Winger. That changed when I heard the awesome 'Made By Hand' Kip Winger solo record a couple of years back, and my assessment of Kip as a phenomenal singer-songwriter has been reconfirmed again with 'Songs From The Ocean Floor', an album of simply majestic proportions. Awash with smart, atmospheric production and dominated by Kip's great vocals, the songs on Kip's third solo disc have all the depth and intensity implied by the title, and this is made clear with stunning opener 'Cross'. Bristling with some neat piano touches and strong acoustic base, the song is melodic, modern and mature, setting the tone for the album as a whole. Then comes of the most powerful hard rock songs I've heard in a long time, 'Crash The Wall'. With solid axework and tub-thumping by Andy Timmons and Rod Morgenstein respectively, Kip's vocals sound as good as ever and the song has sass, energy and melody in abundance.

The Songs
One of the most striking things about this album is the diversity on it. I'm sure it would have been easy for Kip to write 11 replicas of 'Crash The Wall', but instead he has really let the creative juices flow and has come up with such magnificent tunes as 'Sure Was A Wallflower'. About as far removed from the cock-rock reputation of Winger as you can get, Kip duets with Moon Zappa on what is a dreamy, thoroughly modern rock tune. The envelope is pushed even further with the eastern and orchestral tinged instrumental 'Free', the hypnotic 'Song Of Midnight' and the cascading keyboards of the AOR-ish 'Landslide'. Much of the musical diversity and influences on 'Songs From The Ocean Floor' come from Kip's visit to the Middle East after the tragic death of his wife in 1996, and a few of the songs make clear references to this trauma. The delicate and emotive ballad '2 Lovers Stand' beautifully touches this subject before the anger rips out of Kip's voice in the cathartic 'Only One Word', in which he sings: 'A river of Novocain/could never ease the pain/that I'll never see you again'. 'Broken Open' is another tumultuous rocker featuring the by now familiar stream of consciousness lyrics, before the album closes with 'Everything You need', a rampant rocker with one of the more straight-ahead arrangements on the album.

In Summary
In short, 'Songs From The Ocean Floor' is a lush, mature album drenched in great songs, impressive in its scope and ambition and is a world away from anything Kip ever did with Winger (the 'Pull' album excepted). Having survived the schoolboy jokes of Beavis and Butthead unscathed, Kip has made an extraordinary album that confirms his talent and banishes those cock-rock accusations once and for all.

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Winger, Kip - 2000 Songs From The Ocean Floor

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