- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 2, 2002

Everybody Hertz
Remixes are all the rage at the moment, and with Jennifer Lopez scoring a place at the top of the Billboard album charts with one, it should not be surprising to see any electronic, hip-hop or soul artist releasing a record full of revisited songs.
For club music fans and amateur DJs, the albums can be diverting, but casual fans should not mistake these for "new" albums. Air's first full remix work, "Everybody Hertz," falls into this category, with only one new song and remixes of only three others from the duo's album "10,000 Hz Legend." These four songs manage to fill up 10 tracks on the disc, though, with a rather excessive five versions of "Don't Be Light."
Although a number of talented artists take a stab at reinterpreting the group, only a few of these songs are worth your time. The Neptunes (famous for doing magic to tracks by Britney Spears and Mary J. Blige) give "Don't Be Light" a dance-floor kick, the French group Modjo does a nice reworking of "People in the City" and the Thomas Bangalter (of Daft Punk) edit of "Don't Be Light" maintains Air's original vision.
The true standout is "The Way You Look Tonight," a leftover song from the last album's sessions and one that should have been included. The subdued acoustic guitar, dreamy vocals and lush synthesizers are reminiscent of Air's excellent debut, "Moon Safari." They also make a listener wish that "Everybody Hertz" was a proper follow-up, rather than a somewhat transparent attempt to cash in on Air's popularity.
Derek Simmonsen

(Intelligent Records)
The Balsa Gliders may now claim Washington as home, but the band's roots are clearly in the Southern indie rock tradition that made groups such as R.E.M. famous. All three members went to college in North Carolina and embrace the kind of upbeat, folk-pop that has been spinning in college students' CD players for more than a decade.
This jangly rock can be witty and memorable, but also borders dangerously on the innocuous pop that bands such as Barenaked Ladies and They Might Be Giants have been putting out for years. The whole record is close to being a concept album about young people in the "new South," with each song acting as a vignette set in one social function after another (football game, cookout, etc.).
The opening song, "Armrest," begins with a rising and falling guitar scale that progresses from a stripped-down, acoustic sound to a jangly, 1960s-style guitar chord progression. This pattern continues through most of the album, from the nerd-pop of "Antihistamine" to "New South Gothic," a song about how marriage can change everything.
At its best, the band evokes the kind of gentle, melodic rock that Jonathan Richman has helped promote, but at its worst the trio sounds a bit too much like it's following in the footsteps of Counting Crows. Still, for those who fondly remember dorm rooms and acoustic rock set to yearning vocals, Balsa Gliders is a nostalgia trip worth taking. D.S.

(Reunion Records)
Nearly two decades and 15 albums into his music career, Michael W. Smith has released his first live-worship album, titled (what else?) "Worship." Recorded at Carpenters Home Church in Lakeland, Fla., "Worship" hosts a fleet of well-known musicians such as Amy Grant, Wes King, Caedmon's Call and Darlene Zschech.
For an album created before 10,000 people, "Worship" has a surprisingly smooth sound. This is quite an accomplishment considering Mr. Smith's not-too-silky vocals.
The most appealing of all 13 songs are the two studio-recorded bonus tracks, "Purified" and "Above All." If only Mr. Smith had studio-recorded the entire album, he could have had a real winner.
Still, it would be wrong to call "Worship" a loss.
Except for the overdone "Awesome God," Mr. Smith has picked a repertoire of refreshing songs. These range from choruses as new as "The Heart of Worship" to the classic "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus." Strings and piano accompaniment are very effective with both.
More than anything, "Worship" leads its listeners through the emotional journey of people in praise. Songs such as "Let It Rain" cause contagious energy to pour from both musicians and audience, while songs such as "Breathe" exude a calm passion.
Rachel Northrup

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