Embracing the Ear

Inside Out (Compass Records)
Missy Raines & The New Hip

By Ronke Oyekunle

Inside Out contains few vocals but embraces the ear with the singing melody of acoustic instruments. It is an artist's display of inner thoughts. It is Missy Raines' interpretation of life, or as she puts it, "life often forces [changes] upon you … when you think you know what's going to happen, something comes up and surprises you."

The lively title song appropriately starts this complexly composed album off with a retro jazz sound. It portrays a method of an organized jazz session where each instrument stars in a back-to-back solo session of pure expression that dives back into the refrain of the song. The song's chorus line features a strong undertone of the bass leading the way.

The CD continues the upbeat complex sound with "Duke of Paducah" that displays the band's excellent composition skills with its many complex layers of design. Then the mood shifts a bit with "In Over Your Head" a song that has an R&B love song feel. The guitarist's fingers talk in "Pootie Tang," thus creating a great articulation of sound. Each of the aforementioned songs, composed by one of The New Hip members, demonstrates Missy Raines intuitive selection of great musicians with excellent composition skills.

By the end of the album, the mood shifts with the "Ides of March," a melancholy tribute to her father. The song features a somber intonation produced by the wailing bass in conjunction with the steady high guitar and light drumming. You can imagine Missy remembering the time spent with her father demonstrated in the happy guitar, while the somber thumbing of the bass demonstrates her loss. The last song "Angeline," reminiscent of a Shania Twain song, returns the album back to its original upbeat pace. Inside Out indeed displays the peaks and valleys of life, of an artist's life.

For more information go to www.missyraines.com.