Record Review: The Michael J. Epstein Memorial Library

by | Jun 1, 2011 | Reviews

The Michael J. Epstein Memorial Library
Volume One
Somerville, MA

“21st Century sing-a-long”

Remember those childhood road trips, when siblings only stopped fighting for the sing-a-long tape and the whole car transformed into a smiling choir as the side-paneled family truckster cruised down the vast expanses of the American highway system? Neither does anyone else, but Volume One provides the soundtrack for all the imaginary memories we’ve convinced ourselves are somehow part of our past. The songs are catchy but simple, and sung out understandably so listeners can pick up and join in the fun.  Opener “Amylee” defines the sound of the album, strumming guitars and ukuleles backed by an assortment of strings, glockenspiels, and other happy instruments. Epstein never sings alone, backed by a harmony part or more often a bunch of his fellow “librarians” singing around a campfire, roasting marshmallows.

Epstein and company sing about the joys and woes of 21st Century living, but their voices are always filled with a certain joie de vivre. Volume One is a community record; even listening to it alone conjures the feeling of being surrounded by good friends. (Self-released)

Engineered by Michael J. Epstein and Sophia Cacciola at The Michael J. Epstein Memorial Library (Somerville, MA) // Drum tracking and mixing by Mike Quinn at Q Division // Mastered by Jeff Lipton at Peerless Mastering