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    Posted September 18, 2010 by
    Los Angeles, California
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Showbiz 'Avengers' showdown!

    Backseat Bordello’s “End Times Diner” is Music for the New Millennium


    (Los Angeles, CA) Acoustic duo Backseat Bordello puts singer-songwriters back on the radar with their dark and sometimes tongue-in-check album “End Times Diner”, aptly named considering 2012 is right around the corner. The album art features a burning landscape as seen through the windshield of an antique car. A focal point in the photo is a Virgin Mary statue affixed to the dashboard. The image is both disturbing and intriguing, much like the CD itself.

    The imagery is no surprise once the duo’s identity is discovered. The acoustic team is made up of veteran singer and producer Danielle Egnew and her Pope Jane cohort Kristen Coyner, who abandoned the drums for an acoustic guitar and a turn at the mic. “End Times Diner” is a remarkable blend of both women’s voices and songwriting skills. Egnew’s production style tips it’s hand throughout the album, particularly on the duo’s vocal crescendo during their cover of the Leonard Cohen classic “Hallelujah”, which may have just unseated k.d. lang’s famed Olympics performance of the beloved ballad. Top40-Charts.com touted the Backseat Bordello remake of “Hallelujah” as even better than Jeff Beck’s version, so the writing is on the wall.

    The CD is well-paced and emotional but with enough levity to hoist the album out of the acoustic fog and into repeat play on the iPod. Egnew’s gutsy soprano and Coyner’s sultry alto blend very well and the result is inviting and effortless on the ears. At times it’s difficult to identify which vocalist is which once both are singing together, and this is likely the result of the two women blending their voices for over a decade while in Pope Jane. The authentic vocal choices are a winning combination for Backseat Bordello.

    “End Times Diner” contains songs that remain stuck in one’s head like those of a pop album, but the content is far from fluff, with tunes like “Drag Me” about battling depression, “Dashboard Mary” about suicide, “Copper Street” tackling urban myths surrounding evil, and “Morningside Lane” about never leaving a small town. In the middle of the CD is “Rise Up”, which lends a hand back to the more traditional 60’s societal folk that called people to action. “Rise Up” is more relevant than ever with issues such as same- sex marriage and immigration laws heavily on America’s table, and the song's layered vocal ending is inspiring. No matter what your cause, “Rise Up” lends its message.

    However thoughtful some content may be, the album is not a heavy piece. “Miraculous” is a playful dance with the acoustic guitar where the word “espadrilles” becomes a key hook in the song, and “Blind” swings out of nowhere with a Louisiana Bayou slide guitar line creating the underbelly of lustful obsession.

    The CD contains eleven tracks and there is not a dud in the batch, which is surprising for a singer-songwriter offering. The album almost clips by too quickly at forty minutes, but that’s a good sign, especially considering the genre. With artists such as Chris Pureka dominating the Girls with Guitars movement, Backseat Bordello is a breath of fresh air in a stagnant room.

    Backseat Bordello’s “End Times Diner” is unpredictable and boldly expressive with excellent musicianship, earning the duo ten out of ten stars. The album can be purchased on iTunes, through CDBaby.com, and is available for hard copy ordering through the artist’s website at www.BackseatBordello.com. Located on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/BackseatBordello (Maurice The Fish Records).

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