CD Review: The Puppini Sisters – Hollywood

Puppini Sisters, Hollywood

In a day and age where manufactured beats, voices, and music run rampant, The Puppini Sisters are a refreshing and very welcome shock to the auditory system. This trio of unrelated ladies (and I do mean ladies), formed in 2004. Each performer brings an unusual musical history to the group. Group founder, Marcella Puppini (the signature dark-haired chanteuse), recorded a dance hit, Revolution, following a stint in a punk band. The group's quintessential blonde, Kate Mullins, had formerly been a singer in the heavy metal band, Killed in Action. Stephanie O'Brien and her defining red locks came to the group from a classical background as a choir singer, violinist, and occasional harpist and was forging a name for herself in the jazz world. Fortunately for us, the three women met at the Trinity College of Music and formed after Puppini had watched the French animated film, The Triplets of Belleville, taking their name as a tribute to The Andres Sisters of 1941 Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy fame.

After 8 years, The Puppini Sisters have released their fourth studio album, Hollywood, and continue to see a rise in their musical stock. It's easy to see why. With tight vocal harmonies and a flair for the dramatic, the ladies know how to draw in an audience. Their album title track, Hollywood, is penned by the talented, multi-faceted trio, and it swings with the vigor of a by-gone era while some of the arrangement decisions seem to speak to a more modern movement with music. It is the only original amongst a stellar collection of Hollywood film standards from yester-year and it introduces the album in reverent homage.
The collection of Hollywood classics that The Puppini Sisters have compiled is diverse, spanning several decades of Hollywood history, and is careful not to repeat any of the great composers, giving each their due justice in their rendition. The Marilyn-associated Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend, is given a swingy treatment that hearkens to the jazzier horns of the 1940's, while the love theme from The Godfather, (Speak Softly Love) is tenderly sung in French.  The Academy Award and Grammy winning Moon River, which Audrey Hepburn fought to keep included in Breakfast At Tiffany's, feels slightly less melancholy while keeping its romanticism. Meanwhile, the perennial Hollywood favorite, Good Morning (performed by Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney in 1939's Babes in Arms and perhaps better known as a dance number performed by Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor and Debbie Reynolds in the 1952 smash, Singin' in the Rain), seems slightly dirty and sinister in the most delightful way. It's been given a makeover that roughs up some of the over-the-top sunny-ness of the film renditions.
The Puppini Sisters are talent in its truest form: pure with seeming effortlessness. Hollywood is a delightful album and offers a unique view of the classics that we know and cherish so dearly, yet the ladies never compromise the integrity of the songs. Every alteration made to your Hollywood favourite, offers a new and exciting perspective that often feels more dimensional than the standards that we know so well. The harmonies and compositional arrangements are slick and well thought out, so that one gets the sense of just how much the Puppini Sisters revere the musical history in Hollywood. Hollywood is a tribute to musical film and a delectable change from the mundane and dreary everyday.