Cannonball Jane - Street Vernacular

Emily Tartanella 27/03/2006

Rating: 4/5

Your typical elementary school music teacher isn't on the cutting edge - she's barely cognizant, really, going from day to day teaching pudgy 4th-graders how to play the recorder. It's a fair guess that your average music teacher isn't a quirky, adorable, even (dare we say it?) hot indie musician slowly taking over the world one beatbox at a time. Then again, your average music teacher isn't Sharon Hagopian, aka Cannonball Jane.
Those hip enough to have heard of Jane can't stop raving, and it's clear why - the sheer thrills of this album are intoxicating. Musically it's all a ferocious, fiery blur, as the Beastie Boys hook up with the Shangri-Las in the corner, while the Go! Team spins the make-out music. Cannonball Jane seems as comfortable doing early doo-wop tunes (“Fine Reminder”) as she does with 40s jazz (“Add a Wrap”) or 80s hip-hop (“Slumber Party”). For a record, this is impressive, for a debut this is stunning; these tracks might've been produced in Hagopian's home studio, but they sound as full as if a team of technicians working day and night had produced them.
Elsewhere, “The Force of Gravity” has a girl-group coo, while “Let's Go” is punk-funk spliced with electroclash. The stellar bassline of “Taxi” gets in your head and refuses to leave; plus there's the 70s pop-perfection of “Hey! Hey! Alright!” Somewhere Theoretical Girl feels decidedly beaten to the point. This is an all-killer, no filler situation, so put down your dour guy-rock because Cannonball Jane proves that girls have more fun.
Already the soundtrack to your cool friend's party, Street Vernacular deserves to be playing in your ears nonstop. Currently Jane is supporting the Go! Team, and if there's any justice, she'll have as much (or more) success. Music this ebullient, this full of joy and life, this clever and witty, will always have a place in both the mainstream and the indie world. She could teach us the scales any day.