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We're Stuck 2003 CD $15.

This record could only come from a band out of New York. Their ability to move through a staggering array of influences, all seamlessly integrated into a tight, energetic package, sometimes in the scope of a single song, proves STUCK is anything but. You can't help but instantly notice Chisa's smart, sexy and decidedly "up" vocals and lyrics. Rather than provoke or shock us with her honesty, Chisa invites in. And rather than function merely as a delivery vehicle for a powerful singer this tight band of Alex Fortuit (drums and percussion), Matt Pavloka (electric and acoustic bass and trombone), and Pat Cahill (Chapman Stick and trumpet) provide several layers of interplay with Chisa and with each other. It all works because it's all about presenting the songs in a creative and supportive way, with the skill and virtuosity of the performers functioning as a means and not an end.

Stylistically, the tracks vary broadly, from the Bill Lawsell-esque "Fantastic Secret" and "Hypnosis" to hard bopping "Love Baby Love" and "My Pet Rat." There's punk, funk, reggae and even hints of Broadway, as Cahill and Pavloka pick up their horns and add tight lead and counterlines in lock step with Chisa's vocals. Cahill sneaks into the listener's head with his highly musical use of myriad "guitar" sounds and techniques. Everything from wild bends, chunky distorted rhythm parts, angular answering figures, big Andy Summers-style chords and even liquid-smooth jazz lines a la Abercromie or Metheny. His is a complete "guitarist's" approach, inspired by decades of traditions, but delivered with a precision that is decidedly "Stickish."

The playfulness of the song arrangements almost overshadows the ebullience of the Chisa's delivery, but not quite. Just when you're delighted by some dramatic harmonic shift, Chisa grabs our ear with her percussive, sly and soaring vocals. They obviously had as good a time making this record as we can have listening to it.

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