Speaking In Tongues

Speaking in Tongues (Rocket and Snail )

By Paul Moffett

Stoney Burns, publisher of the Texas music magazine Buddy, had a fine arts background and he used to say 'Ah, yes, that's after the Beatles (or the Stones or Buddy Holly or whoever)' whenever he thought a band was mimicking someone a little too closely.

So the question is, is Speaking in Tongues after the Police, Queen and/or Yes? It certainly is possible to hear, nay, hard to avoid hearing, what must at least be characterized as influences by those groups in the writing and arranging on this tape. The opening tune, 'Never Say Never,' is very much after the Police. Nevertheless, it has a catchy hook and infectious rhythm and is the tune on this album that I find myself humming.

'Who in the Hell Do You Think You Are?' would do Freddie Mercury proud, with a couple of signature Queen tricks to help define it.

The remaining four tunes are less identifiable as being after,' although 'Dancing in the Rain,' has a bit of a Yes-ish feel to it. There is one instrumental on the tape, 'Walking in Circle,' that is pleasing to the ear.

At this point, let me say that this tape is exceptionally well produced, with clear, clean arrangements which are at times even elegantly sparse, rather like a designer's all-white room. Speaking in Tongues had the able assistance of Todd Smith on a slew of instruments and Rick DeBow on saxophone and flute in the sessions to achieve this.

Songwriter and band leader Chaz Rough is the driving force behind this product and his graphic designer sensibilities and taste are apparent throughout. Indeed, the slickness of the arrangements are more than matched by the packaging, which looks like major label artwork.

This tape and its accompanying packaging and promotion look like and will probably serve as, a resume to the major labels. It says very, very clearly, that here is a trio with all of the essentials to be developed into a solid act on someone's roster.

In the meantime, you can catch them before they go ballistic and see if you think that there is a hit on this tape. It's available exclusively at Ear X-lacy Records. Of course, the band will sell you one, too.