Copyright 1991 The Washington Post
The Washington Post

January 8, 1991, Tuesday, Final Edition


LENGTH: 295 words

HEADLINE: Til Tuesday, With Mann and Fans

SERIES: Occasional

BYLINE: Eric Brace

   The Til Tuesday that was heard on "Voices Carry," the band's 1985 debut, was never really the band Aimee Mann set out to create. It was overproduced, with a big dance beat, and despite going gold, was the wrong sound for Mann's introspective chamber-pop songs. A new Til Tuesday rolled into the Bayou Sunday night and performed a set of revamped "oldies" and a few newer tunes.

Knowing full well that the band's followers are basically an Aimee Mann fan club, Mann took to the stage with just an acoustic guitar, announced that she was feeling "a little giddy tonight" and let fly with her distinct reedy soprano. Drummer and original band mate Michael Hausmann joined her with brushes on the end of an emotionally raw "Everything's Different Now," and the rest of the set was with the full band. Mann and newcomer Jon Brian traded electric bass and acoustic guitar back and forth, while the other new face, Buddy Judge, played pump organ and electric guitar.

Not all the rearrangements worked; "Love in a Vacuum" started sublimely, with the layered vocal harmony hook softly riding the acoustic guitar, organ and a simple high-hat cymbal pattern, but sped up to an arbitrarily noisy ending. "Voices Carry," the band's big MTV hit, had a new "Tomorrow Never Knows" Ringo drum beat that jerked the melody around, and a cover of Badfinger's "Baby Blue" just seemed flat. "Telescope," written with Elvis Costello, was the highlight, perfect for this band, with its lush harmonies and thick strumming , and a version of Costello's "Riot Act" was similarly satisfying. Despite the onstage smugness of the band's newest members and the lack of real dynamics in the arrangements, Mann's songs held up well , and the packed house was happy just to have her around.