from delusions of adequacy:
Andi Camp was the singer of Ribbon Fix. This is how much I know about
Ribbon Fix: Andi Camp was the female singer, and she hand-made just about
all of the albums, making them some of the most beautiful and intricate CD
packages I've ever seen. The music? Beats me, I've yet to hear Ribbon Fix.
So why buy Andi Camp? It was playing in the record store while I wandered,
searching for something new and good, and her haunting voice and gorgeous
piano work struck me immediately. I had to have it. So do you.
Andi Camp has a beautiful voice, soulful without being too deep and
conveying so much in every word. And she makes the piano the main
instrument in every song. While I immediately draw comparisons to Tori
Amos both in similar voices and piano, Camp has a definite indie rock feel
to her songs, making them more intense and less focused on heavy lyrics.
These songs use piano and drums to great effect, and they add trumpet,
violin, saxophone, and double bass, but no guitars. Can this album rock
without guitars? Hell yes.
Camp really showcases her talents on songs like "still," a track
that combines powerful drumming, fast piano, and more urgent vocals. This
song rocks, even without a guitar. The rolling drums and impeccable piano
are downright awe-inspiring. "Clackamas" has light, slightly jazzy
drumming for a very beautiful, very flowing feel, and I think Camp's
vocals are better here than on any other track. Camp shows she can shine
on her own, like on the bare-bones and mellow "nxnw," which just features
her voice and soft piano and hints of gorgeous cello. Camp goes back and
forth between those slower tracks and more upbeat songs. "Landslide" has a
bouncy feel from the drumming and piano/violin textured sound. "City
Skyline" nicely goes between those styles, with quiet and contemplative
moments and more moving times that combine bass, drums, piano and sax for
a louder, more powerful feel. "Bedridden" is one of the fastest, most
rocking tracks, with Camp really pounding away on the piano, especially
the bass notes. "One Night Stand" reminds me quite a bit of some old Tori
Amos songs, quite lovely and centered around intricate and light piano
work. But the addition of strings and horns really makes this one unique.
And the closer, "Uphollow," is one of Camp's most intense songs. The piano
is really striking here, especially as it builds up from quiet to intense
and more powerful along with her soaring voice.
All of Ribbon Fix's albums were hand-made and numbered, and while I'm
disappointed that the packaging on The Perfect Stranger is hum-drum at
best, it is still hand-numbered. I have No. 134. And while this release
feels more mass-produced, it's still about the music within. On the fast
songs, Camp uses a piano better than any other musician I've heard, and on
the slower songs, she manages to convey so much beauty and emotion. It's
lovely and inspiring all at once, and Camp is simply one of the best
female musicians I've heard in a long, long time.