Reviews of The Wildwoods...
Golden Arrow Productions Review
The best words to describe this album is, to steal a phrase from Jack Black, a tasty jam. The latest effort by the DSP, is pure and honest rock and roll and a great CD to cruise to on a trip down to the shore. The quintessential summer jam is indeed "New Jersey Avenue", which is about chilling, drinking and having a good time in the Wildwood area. The most experimental aspect of the album has to be the tune "Spring Break: Central America", with the Sherpa's brand of rock infused with the sounds of the islands and melded into a great laid back tune that gets you thinking about the politics of the 1980's. Overall, this album is what a good rock album should sound like for summer time and if your looking for music to relax with and maybe even think a bit.
Word of Mouth PA August 2007 Issue by Tracy
As a collection straight-forward rock songs, The Disgruntled Sherpa Project call their new album The Wildwoods a departure from their other work, and I agree. It certainly is different from previous albums, but don't worry, it's still a DSP album. It's nice to see a band move in a different direction, and they prove that they are capable of many things.
Wildwoods really showcases their skills as storytellers. This album is full of tales about heartache and angst, an indication that this album should be taken seriously. This is the kind of album where you set aside time to listen to the album while paying close attention to the lyrics. You can view the lyrics on this website: www.disgruntledsherpa.50megs.com. Anyone who has visited Wildwood NJ should pay close attention to the song "New Jersey Avenue," because you might recognize some of the places that are mentioned.
Whether they continue in this genre or surprise their fans by taking yet another new direction, I know that I will be looking forward to what they have to offer. Thanks to The Disgruntled Sherpa Project, I predict that more bands will be willing to try new things.
Jim Downey of PaDown.com
The Disgruntled Sherpa Project has gone out of their way to point out that their newest album, The Wildwoods, is different stylistically from their last three almost as if they were apologizing for their former work. While no apology was needed I was interested to hear what their "rock" album would sound like and I wasn't disappointed. They specifically point out the absence of mandolins, dulcimers, banjos, etc. that were so prevalent in their past discs. While they claim this to be their "guitar album" - and make no mistake this is a guitar album - there are subtle touches of percussion, piano, sweeping organs, keyboards, rain sticks, steel drums, cow bell (gotta have cowbell) and poppy handclaps to make every song interesting. And yes there are still acoustic guitars; whether they are shadowing the raunchy, crunchy electric riffs or taking center stage in the sole acoustic song, "Child of Divorce", a track whose lyrics are just as depressing as the title suggests, acoustic guitar is still a major force in the songs.
The biggest change seems to be the band worked with a producer this time rather than self produce and they are in very capable hands as the production on this disc supersedes anything they've done to date. The production goes a long way to highlight the vocals shared almost equally by Joe Boylan, Walt Mamaluy, George Wright and new comer to the band guest vocalist Lauren Mackal as well as showcasing bassist Mamaluy and drummer Wayne Lee as a tight, focused and rocking rhythm section that provides a steady foundation for the songs.
The guitar duties, as usual, are shared by the band's trident of axe men, Dan Perry, Wright and Boylan, who trade licks and take turns soloing throughout the album. For a perfect example of how well they play off each other check out the closing track the almost Christian-rock like rocker, "The Beautiful Losers" which features a scorching Skynyrd-like guitar duel to close the song and the album.
Of course the songs themselves stand out the most. At just over a half hour the disc's nine tracks come at you hard and fast like a Sugar Ray Leonard jab. The opener "Not an Exit" is a near psychotic waltz until it breaks down into a pop punk middle. " New Jersey Avenue " is a catchy, poppy, travelogue of a song that takes place at the shore resort the disc was named for. Other highlights are rockers "Afraid of Me" which features a great, funky instrumental middle and some fantastic female vocals that blend beautifully with the boys and "Suffer in Silence" which is a runaway train of a song about marital betrayal again featuring some great harmonies.
The two standouts are "Spring Break: Central America " that has a funk/reggae rhythm with some of the whitest sounding vocals this side of Andy Williams. This story song is about a drunk, horny college dropout vacationing in Central America who gets recruited into the CIA and becomes a government killer during the Contra War. By the end, the main character shares the same sentiment as Col. Nathan Jessep in A Few Good Men, that Americans not only need the military "on that wall" we want them there. The lyrics "some things politicians just don't understand/these are the best days of your life/your Uncle Sam keeps you safe at night" could also be applied to today's America of wire taps, Gitmo and border reform but they are delivered so tongue in cheek though it's hard to determine if this is a pro-America, my country right or wrong statement or if it's mocking that very idea. The other standout, and in my opinion the best song on the album, is a bluesy funk called "Nor'easter" that is basically bass, drums and vocals with some tasteful blues licks thrown in before the song erupts into an orgy of soloing guitars, handclaps, and church organs.
To sum up, this album may be different from the band's past work, but it's also easily the best work they've done. The CD will kick your ass all over the place.
Play Philly Magazine 8/1/07 Issue by Rachel Perry
We love pretty much everything about these five guys, from their ridiculously weird name to their addictively crisp folk-rock sound. They've already put out six full-length albums, and their most recent, The Wildwoods, a tribute to my beloved South Jersey, has gotten some great reviews and feedback. The lyrics are deliciously Ataris-esque and well written - and best of all, you can actually understand what they're saying (add a few more points on for that).
A Kick Butt CD review by John Romano
I just got the CD the other day and I gave it a couple of spins while driving to and from work. The CD kicks butt. The songs are awesome and have a nice cruising feel for some of the songs. Its a great listen and all of the songs have a nice transition. Pick up the CD if you haven't already.
The Arc, Arcadia University Radio
Arcadia University's Home for the Sherpa's
This Band Keeps getting Better and Better review by Dana Pinnock
I listened to the Wildwoos CD over the weekend. Listened to it twice, actually. I think it sounds great. Seems like every time these guys come out with a CD they keep getting better. I think Lauren Mackal's vocals added to the songs and sounded great as well.
A Review by Some Crazyass Dude named Steve Vader (Darth's Cousin)
I really liked The Wildwoods. It was easy to get into and the tunes are all tight and well written and have a lot of interesting stuff going on with the congas, steel drums, shakers and stuff like that.
I'd say "New Jersey Avenue" and the "Nor'easter" are my favorites. The ending solos with the handclaps and just the pounding drums is extremely cool on the latter track. The song "Child of Divorce" is a little odd. The music is real upbeat and the acoustic guitar playing is really beautiful but the words are so dark and depressing. A few of the words to the songs on the disc really put the disgruntled in the Disgruntled Sherpa Project. I'd have to also say Lauren Mackal singing on some of those songs has a killer voice and the drumming on that musical interlude on "Afraid of Me" is absolutely awesome.
I pretty much dug every track on the disc.