The Choir Practice (Mint)
For most of us, choir practice was a nightmare–a screaming drag of epic proportions made up of flat singing and the smell of wet kids in overlit assembly halls. Mercifully, the Choir Practice's eponymous debut doesn't invoke those feelings, instead conjuring a sort of a '60s utopia of beautiful and talented women, tambourines, and men in crisp white pants. No big surprise, really, since this Choir Practice comes from the Mint Records sunshine factory. Led by the Gay's Coco Culbertson and Larissa Loyva of P:ano, along with 12 colleagues and friends, including Ida Nielsen, Love and Mathematic's Shane Turner, and photographer Karin Bubas, the Choir Practice is equal parts goofy and uplifting, as well as self-consciously kitschy in the manner of a lot of Mint product.
The rhapsodic vanilla gospel of the New Seekers–mixed with Godspell and the quavering infant voices of the Langley Schools Music Project–seems to have inspired this bunch. Culbertson provides most of the songs, and her efforts are smart and often funny. "Pretty" and "Up All Day" stand out–especially the latter, which is a sugar-candy sibling to the Lovin' Spoonful's "Daydream". Carl Newman also provides one striking track, the woozy "Failsafe", while Loyva's three songs give these voices their most satisfying workouts, especially the euphoric "I See Things" and the stately "Things I Say", with its exhilarated chorus rising above a Hammond organ. The hypothesis is that a bunch of people singing their lungs out is irresistible, and based on this it's hard to argue the point.