Island Mele
Friday, July 6, 2001

By John Berger



"The Voice"

Junior Maile
Noteworthy (NWR2004)

Two guys with Hawaii ties team up to put a fresh spin on "island music" as Michael Paulo and Noteworthy Records introduce singer/ songwriter Junior Maile. "The Voice" is a great debut.

Maile opens with an original, "Only My Island Girl," and registers strong as both writer and performer. Many songs have been written in recent years extolling the virtues of "island" or Polynesian girls, and this is one of the best. The catchy reggae rhythms and light uke work on the melody should make this a sure-fire hit.

Most of the other songs are smooth and soulful originals, suggesting that Maile is an urban balladeer at heart.

Pop remakes are usually the creative nadir of local albums but Maile and producer Paulo do a commendable job with "Stuck on You" and "Days of My Youth."

Two other songs that speak of Maile's Samoan heritage add another welcome facet to the collection.

Mpeg Audio Clips:
Bullet Only My Island Girl
Bullet The Voice
Bullet The Days of My Youth
Quicktime | RealPlayer | MPEG-3 info



Rail 808
No label (R8081886)

A change of name signals expanded horizons as Rail -- now Rail 808 -- makes the transition from local rock bar band to high-powered recording artists. Their debut release consists of six original songs. Three of the six are presented a second time in "radio edit" versions. The total is polished industrial strength rock. These guys are ready to go for the national charts.

Vocalist Dan Duchai growls with a hearty depth of emotion that bodes well for the group's chances outside the comfortable confines of the Hawaii rock scene. Duchai is also the resident lyricist. He writes with crystal clarity when addressing such topics as love, heartbreak and forgiveness, but challenges the listener to unravel his enigmatic messages elsewhere.

Powerful, uncluttered rock arrangements complete this disc. Any of these songs could become hits.

Mpeg Audio Clips:
Bullet Pain
Bullet Notice the Change
Bullet What I Have
Quicktime | RealPlayer | MPEG-3 info

Spread A Little Aloha

The Mana'o Company
A guava ding thing (TMCCD1006)

The Mana'o Company was one of the major players during the original Jawaiian music boom in the early '90s. This long-awaited reunion album finds Danny Kennedy, Salaam Tillman and John Baricuatro Jr., now working with Kaulana Pakele and Weldon Kekauoha. It's a powerful combination.

The album's official release date is Tuesday, but the music is already being heard. With remakes of "96 Degrees in the Shade" and Drop Baby Drop" as its signature hits, the original TMC was best known as a Jawaiian cover band. Three of the strongest songs here are originals by band members; Fiji contributed two more.

The guys also display their musical savvy by adding melodies from Earth Wind & Fire and Redbone to their arrangements. The old-time Jawaiian thing is still big but Mana'o Company's impressive dance club remix of "96 Degrees" shows that the new TMC is taking the genre to a higher level.

Mpeg Audio Clips:
Bullet All Day Music
Bullet Aloha
Bullet 96 Degrees in the Shade
Quicktime | RealPlayer | MPEG-3 info

See Record Reviews for some past reviews.
See Aloha Worldwide for locals living away.

John Berger, who has covered the local
entertainment scene since 1972, writes reviews of recordings
produced by Hawaii artists. See the Star-Bulletin's Today
section on Fridays for the latest reviews.

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