Wicked Time

Christine Ohlman & Rebel Montez

J-Bird Records, 2000


REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Christine Ohlman has led an interesting life as a musician, with her most public success coming as the vocalist for the house band of television's Saturday Night Live. One would think that Ohlman and her band Rebel Montez would be primed for success in whatever musical style would come her way.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Her latest disc Wicked Time, instead, shows a vocalist and songwriter who is stylistically sound, but otherwose sounds unmotivated towards anything past bar band status. Of course, Ohlman is hardly a bar band artist... but if I didn't know her history, I'd have expected them to be playing one of the local watering holes.

Ohlman and her band - guitarist Eric Fletcher, bassist Michael Colbath and drummer Larry Donahue - are decent enough musicians, something which is evident throughout the course of Wicked Time. If only the band sounded like they were excited about the music they were performing. What the listener is presented with, in essence, is a leisurely walk through the park - not something you want to hear when you expect this group to burn the barn down at every turn.

At times, Wicked Time has promise, such as on their cover of The Rolling Stones's "Heart Of Stone" or the battered-woman-revenge song "Longtime Woman," a song which shows off the r&b-based roots of the band. But these moments are few and far between.

You'd expect Ohlman to be more excited about her own music, wouldn't you? Yet she seems to coast through performances such as "When I Work My Thang On You," "One More Thrill," "Heaven Or Hell" and "Wicked Time". Yet you can't call any of these performances bad by any stretch of the word. They're musically solid, and Ohlman is a decent songwriter. But her impressive musical resume is just not enough to carry this album. You need to put some drive behind it - and Wicked Time is lacking this drive.

Wicked Time is an album of decent songs delivered half-heartedly, and is recommended only for diehard fans of Ohlman's or of r&b-laced rock. Otherwise, the reaction you may have to this disc isn't "wicked"... it may be "yawn".

Rating: C

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2000 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of J-Bird Records, and is used for informational purposes only.