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Signing Einstein: Press

Pop Matters Magazine

The opening strains of Signing Einstein are promising enough, sounding like a prog rock fantasy with feet in Pink Floyd's general sound. When Gina Gonzalez's gossamer voice opens up, things take a more soft rock, adult contemporary direction. But, hey, the opening track,"Edward Teach" is about pirates, so it's got that going for it. Actually, between Joe Nuccio's rumbling bass and guest guitarist Dave Uhrich's riffage, it's a pleasant bit of triple-A album rock. But as things go on, the disc reveals its weaknessess too easily. There is a lot to be said for mellow, soft music that washes over you instead of pummeling you with beats and chords. Signing Einstein isn't trying to pretentiously pass itself off as anything more than it is, but it's a narrow gap of music that they are trying to squeeze into. Anchored primarily by Gonzalez's voice, there are shades of Fleetwood Mac, Sarah McLachlan, and most prominently Natalie Merchant in each song. Gonzalez has without a doubt, a gorgeously rich voice, but it can't entirely save these tunes from being a bit dull. At their worst, musical team of Nuccio and keyboardist Vincent Varco sound too much like the watery backing tracks for an Enya song, and even a hint of Mannheim Steamroller at times. The worst part is that this isn't for a lack of talent. Each of the members of the band have an obvious amount of technical skill and are good musicians in their own right. Both bring decades of experience as members of various other collaborations to Signing Einstein. But there's a definite lack of edge to these songs, something too polished and smooth. While the hooks are there, they're so subtle that they're imperceptible and don't fulfill their function of keeping the ear interested. ost infuriatingly, you can hear the promise of songs like "Heart Beating","Love, the Same", and "The Prey of Nantahala Lake" to break out from their buttery consistency and really grab hold, but they never do. I have great respect for the band that wears its eighties influences on its sleeve, but if you're going to go against the grain of time so distinctly, you have to make more of an impression. Signing Einstein have what it takes to be a solid adult contemporary act that incorporates a distinct revivalism with proficient skill, but not if they remain in such an easy listening, background band mode.

Patrick Schabe - Pop Matters Magazine (2002)

Geek America

 
(signing einstein)'s debut release came in the most elaborate (read: unnecessary) press package I have received yet. And yes, they really do spell their name (signing einstein). The first song, entitled "Edward Teach", sounds almost exactly like The Wall-era Pink Floyd with a female singer and is therefore the best track on the CD. But what you must absolutely hear are the lyrics. I'll print the entire song here: "We set to sea, 1718. The gallows are waiting for the menace of the sea. Dressed in black, six pistols cross his chest, the captain of Adventure, flaunts his Pirate's crest. And we chant, 'Edward Teach must die.' At light we strike, and raise the Union Jack. Tempt them to board, into a silent trap. Face to face, his pistol to my head, but his flesh they ravage, and the devil falls dead. As they chant, 'Edward Teach must die'.' Post his skull at the fork of the river, to the others 'Beware!', fashion it into a bowl of silver, drink from it if you dare. Edward Teach is dead." Now it would be a very grave mistake to think of this as a joke song, (signing einstein) really wrote a song about a pirate captain (I have no idea if Edward Teach is real or not) with no sense of irony or kitsch. I think that's absolutely awesome. The band is mostly made of studio musicians who have been around for a long time. I can't really listen to the rest of the songs, the second is okay, but then they do lame things like a calypso/reggae song, a horrible house song, and just way too much lame shit that makes it obvious that they are studio musicians. Other studio musicians would probably love this though. I am keeping this solely for the incredible first song. Edward Teach is dead indeed.

Geek America (Aug, 2001)

All Media Guide

2 ½ Stars

AMG EXPERT REVIEW: One would never imply that the members of signing einstein lack talent, because they are very talented musicians. For their debut self-titled album, they have selected original compositions with an '80s adult contemporary quality. For most of the material found on the album, the band lacks a hook and fails to employ a unique front in its presentation. These weak links in their musical chain could deny them public recognition and appreciation. They have strong compositions blended with equally forceful lyrics, but the melodies have a character that is simply too familiar to grab a listener. "Heart Beating" is one of the more exciting pieces from the album. This comes via the expressive lead vocals from Gina Gonzalez. The solo instrumental breaks are also high points in "Heart Beating," as Dave Uhrich screams with flaming lead guitar phrases complemented by Vincent Varco's riffs coming from his extensive repertoire of keyboard accents. "Hit Me Like a Train" does just that — it hits the listener with the force of a fast-moving train. This song shows that the band is able to put out creative original tunes. The sound is truly their own, with a unique beat being the foundation for the instrumental and vocal expression that fills this piece with extreme vibrancy. For a debut album, with two songs that deserve mention, one would consider this a great learning experience for a band. signing einstein needs to focus on their own unique and original sound if they are to be noticed. With a couple of the tunes from the album, they display the ability to create music that has a signature quality. After one listen to this album, most will contemplate the future of signing einstein. What will their destiny be if they make much-needed changes in the direction of their repertoire? The future looks bright if they look in a new direction; without it, to coin an '80s phrase, signing einstein is destined to crash and burn.

Larry Belanger - All Media Guide (Sep 12, 2001)

New York Rock

First off, yes, those arrows are part of the band's name. Thank God for the computer culture, eh? As for sound, remember Renaissance? Wince if you do. This trio from the windy city has a similar sound, big, baroque, sweepy numbers that meander here and there. Gina Gonzalez has a pretty voice that's usually doubled. Joe Nuccio plays a real nice bass, and Vincent Varco fills the air with various keyboard sounds. The songs have a European feel to them, and "Be That As It May" has pop potential if the tempo picked up a bit. Kudos to Dave Uhrich for smoking guitar bits. Classically influenced rock from Chicago just for you.

Bill Ribas - New York Rock (Oct 1, 2001)

Downeast Reviews

 

Track 1- Edward Teach

 

The beginning of this tune has a Boston, the band, quality with a techno edge ala Pink Floyd. When the vocals from Gina join the mix the transition has a Fleetwood Mac and ABBA quality with a more intense bottom end and much wilder color. The song has a certain 80's essence which can not be denied with strong Pop influences bleeding through. ( ! ! ! ! )

 

Track 2- Heart of Stone

 

The guitar work on this song is expertly crafted and performed coming in forceful phrases. The tight percussionist masterfully executes the complex time changes. The melody sounds all too familiar, coming from an era, the 80's, when the cut-out bins in record stores were always filled with bands that never quite made the charts. ( ! ! ! )

 

Track 3- The Prey of Nantahala Lake

 

As a music critic one is always searching for the next "hot" group that will equal the Beatles. But truth be known there will never be another band to equal their status. A band has to create a unique sound and they have to have a hook, this song is one which lacks in both of these characteristics. Performed superbly by all of the musicians makes for an interesting presentation, but interesting is not always enough to keep one focused and engrossed in a song. ( ! ! ! )

 

Track 4- Voices

 

Still maintaining an 80's keyboard sound with techno effects, leaves one wanting something new and unique. Berlin had a sound much in the same vein as did Pink Floyd, take these influences and learn from them don't copy them. This is a lesson which signing einstein needs a refresher course in. Again they are tight musicians, but do they want to be a cover band or an original band? These are original songs which one could incorrectly relate with a multitude of 80's artists. ( ! ! ! )

 

Track 5- Heart Beating

 

Following the same formula and including no variety in their sound could certainly be the end of the road for signing einstein. Once again the melody is too familiar, although the solo instrumental breaks are well crafted and captivating elements. This is one of the better tunes on the album, because the structure has a unique quality with much of the originality featured in the charismatic vocals. ( ! ! ! ! )

 

Track 6- Hit Me Like a Train

 

Now this tune has a refreshing vibrance to it and has a very original feel about it. The beat is unique and quite technical, the keyboard and guitar accents add color and depth to the captivating melody. The bass guitar work is relentless and adds a tight bottom end to the fast paced time signature. Even the vocals have a strong presence with an energetic emotional quality. ( ! ! ! ! ! )

 

 

 

Track 7- Be That as It May

 

The quality has gone back to the average sound that feels a bit too comfortable for the group. Tight music without any heart and soul, or more precisely meat and potatoes, in the composition. A tune that is cool, but sure isn't a hit, best describes this number.

( ! ! ! )

 

Track 8- Love, the Same

 

Another 80's flashback comes via this piece. "Please don't bring me back", one screams as signing einstein keeps pulling the listener into the 80's abyss. Some will leap into the pit, but more will turn and run to the future. Catch me if you can. ( ! ! ! )

 

Track 9- Time to Decide

 

The energy level on this piece is on high, but the sound is like canned Casio keyboard crap. The drums have a cheap electronic quality, while the oom paa bassline has an equally poor feel. The vocals are adequate, but as an artist does one really want to put the effort into it. ( ! ! )

 

Track 10- Wipe the Pages Clear

 

This tune has a contagious and charismatic melody. The beat with a slight Island quality has a great dance quality. Unfortunately, this tune is so similar to Blondies "The Tide Is High" that one wonders if signing einstein ever listens to Pop radio or is that all they ever listen to. ( ! ! ! )

 

 

                             

(33/50)  B                     Rating:  Excellent- ! ! ! ! !

           Good- ! ! ! !

           Average- ! ! !

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Downeast (Oct 3, 2001)

Rant N Rave

In the first track, "Edward Teach", we immediately learn that "Edward Teach must die," and by the end, Edward Teach is dead. What happenined in between remains a mystery. The lyrics on this album go beyond vague and wander into the realm of cliche and standard for making average music sound dramatic. signing einstein offers no explanation for their ambiguity but prods on for another 9 tracks of brooding, ambient music that is too similiar to Pink Floyd to be original and too passive to be industrial. The mastering on this album is the best thing about it; each instrument is clear and concise, as are the vocals of Gina Gonzalez, who sounds like a mix of Sarah McLachlan and Enya. Signing Einstein is comforting in that their music is not trendy, and would probably be considered best for a soft rock or adult pop station. However, this album is far from earth shattering. "Love, the Same" sounds strikingly similar to Eurythmics's "Sweet Dreams(Are Made Of This)" and "Time to Decide" sounds like a new wave reject from Yaz's "Upstairs at Eric's." It ends with a very strange rendition of "Auld Lang Syne" after a feeble attempt at reggae on "Wipe the Pages Clear." At best, this album could be good background noise.

Robyn Heller - Rant N Rave (2002)

Illinois Entertainer

Considering the talented players involved with Signing Einstein (including guest guitarist Dave Uhrich) the band's self-titled Cd comes as a disappointment. Bassist Joe Nuccio and keyboards player Vincent Varco both claim Pink Floyd as a major influence, but Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall were never as impenetrable as Signing Einstein. The pirate tale of "Edward Teach" is clumsy and maudlin, while "Heart of Stone" and "Be That As It May" are just two wxamples of Nuccio and Varco's tendency toward slow-moving arrangements and ponderous lyrics. Gina Gonzalez is a strong lead vocalist, but the synth dance numbers "Hit Me Like A Train" an "Time To Decide" are her only opportunities to exude some energy. "Wipe The Pages Clear", an optimistic celebration of New Year's Eve, is another highlight.

Terrance Flamm - Illinois Entertainer (2001)
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