In case anyone on campus missed the Midnight Ramblers’ fall concert, Midnight Ramblers of the Caribbean,” then they are in luck.

This self-described “all-male contemporary a cappella group” certainly maintains this contemporary formula in its newest release, entitled “Manifesto.”

This album is the seventh for the Midnight Ramblers and attempts to exceed the lofty expectations created by their previous six installments.

With songs ranging from artists such as The Fray, System of a Down, Journey and Coldplay, among others, the Midnight Ramblers bring a fresh and unadulterated version of many popular songs. Though I’m not the world’s biggest a cappella fan, I found this album both interesting and enjoyable.

Much of the album reminds me of the great quote by Will Ferrell’s famous Robert Goulet impression, who describes his newest album as “An hour of rip roaring rap music, not by some dubious ruffians without the chops, but by a professionally trained voice man, no musical accompaniment.”

This is, of course, a roundabout compliment to the professionally-trained voice men of the Midnight Ramblers, who sound much more polished than many of the original versions.

Though this does not say much when in a lyrical competition with the screams of System of a Down, “Manifesto” does more than simply attempt to recreate the music that is already freely available for illegal download, but rather attempts to create something entirely new.

Even though the solo voices are very noticeably excellent in all parts of the album, there is more to the Midnight Ramblers than a few pretty voices.

Though it may take several listenings of the album – which demonstrates it contains more than simply a grouping of novel remakes that quickly fade in replay ability – the nuances of the album are also of great interest.

Praise has to go not only to the obviously gifted and diligent singers of the group, but also to their arrangers.

The album’s lead off song, “I Write Sins Not Tragedies,” by Panic! At the Disco, is a testament to the vocal versatility of the group.

Though it is perhaps not a personal favorite, the complex strings of the original are translated crisply into melodious sounds of the Ramblers.

Using only their voices (hence, a cappella) the Ramblers manage to wholly reimagine the backgrounds to their aural masterpieces.

Though slight amounts of percussion instruments are used in the album, the majority of the instrumental portions of the song are recreated so flawlessly that some sections had me question if that actually was a person’s voice or simply a clever ruse.

All this goes to say that the album should not be overlooked as school winds down and final studying heats up.

If you like any of the songs on the back cover (or even dislike and want to hear them done better than the original), then I highly recommend you pick up a copy if you still can. The “Manifesto” CD sold out the UR bookstore within two days. Don’t worry, they’ve restocked.

After listening, I am sure you’ll agree that the next show is not to be missed.

Burnett is a member of the class of 2010.



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