C Jane Run - 2000 Happy

ARTIST: C Jane Run
ALBUM: Happy
LABEL: Spin Records
YEAR: 2000

LINEUP: Lisa Carey - vocals * Chuck Reinemann - guitars, keyboards * Mike Wray - vocals, bass * Joanne DeSarbo - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Help Herself * 02 Lori Sunday * 03 Lori Lounge * 04 Any Other Way * 05 I'm the Hero * 06 Happy * 07 Thanks for Nothing * 08 Separated * 09 If You See Kay


There's plenty of independent music out there to act as proof that a band doesn't need to be on a major label to make great music. Whatever the marketing and recording budgets or current vogues and trends, at its core the best music is nearly always well-written, well-performed and edgy.

Despite the energy and enthusiasm of C Jane Run, a four piece modern pop outfit from Albany NY, they are the type of indie band that falls between these three stools. As warm and sprightly as some of the melodies may be, it is the execution of some of the songs that lets the band down.

Without being too unkind I have a real problem with some of the vocal work of co-lead singer Mike Wray. Although his voice is perhaps buried within the less than powerful production, all too often Wray's vocals lack strength and do something of an injustice to the pleasant Rubinoos type pop-rock the band writes.

The Songs

The same can't be said of the female half of the duel vocal attack, Lisa Carey. On opener 'Can't Help Herself', the signs look very good, as the song bristles with melody and Carey's voice sounds like an interesting relative of Debbie Harry's dulcet tones.

However, on the excellent jangle pop of second song 'Lori Sunday', Wray assumes vocal duties and as well-written as the song is, his voice fails to fit. Carey again takes over on the incredibly catchy 'Any Other Way', but even by this point, the dubious wisdom of having two incompatible vocalists wrestling for control gives 'Happy' something of a disjointed feel.

This vocal tussle continues throughout the remainder of the album, as does the battle of the band's influences, although the latter is definitely a more interesting duel. From the acoustic musings of the closing song 'If You See Kay', to the all out Outfield power pop of 'Thanks For Nothin' and the altogether harder sound of 'Separated', C Jane Run undoubtedly have a knack for penning great songs.

In Summary

I just think that until Carey can be given complete vocal prominence and Wray sticks to his strength of writing such pop-rock gems, then the band will walk rather than sprint to greater success.

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