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Alvin Band's Mantis Preying

Reviewed by Elizabeth Murphy

There is absolutely nothing the Alvin Band‘s album, Mantis Preying, fails to deliver.

It has to be one of the most energetic and engaging albums out there right
now that makes you get the urge to dance, jump, and sing out loud. What sets
the Alvin band apart from all the other bands is that Rick Shaier, the
band’s only member, created all the sounds heard throughout the duration of
the CD; he’s his own percussionist and vocalist- literally. And please take
heed, I don’t just mean Mr. Rick Shaier plays the drums and can hold a good
melody; on his entire album, his only instrument is his mouth. One can only
imagine what he sounds like snoring at night: *The rumbling sounds of the
drums escapes from his lips producing the notes you’d see on a music sheet.
When he snorts, it erupts tunes from his throat like a volcano while
producing the harmonic melodies you’d expect to hear from a gospel choir.*
Now, who would want to put a lid on that?

So, while you’re experiencing the amazing beat boxing, sick beats, an
interesting array voices, and catchy lyrics, you’re mentally (and sometimes
physically) trying to figure out exactly how he did it all. I must admit, I
did try to replicate some of the sounds on each track by twisting my mouth
in a bunch of different shapes and releasing puffs of air. I was a bit…very
unsuccessful. But the truth remains the same, the sounds seem to be that
impossible to make. He truly puts all the other beat boxers to shame.

For example, the albums first track, “Temple Pressure”, begins with
loud thumping sounds, rhythmically combined with beat boxing and a soft
voice in the back ground. You can’t tell from first listen that all the
sounds are coming from his mouth. You, most likely, won’t even be able to
figure this out from the second or the third playing, either. But, what you
will be able to identify as any of the tracks seep into your ears from the
headphones or stereo it trembles out of is its pure originality. And
although I can’t quite make out what most of the lyrics are over the echo
effects fading in and out on Shaier’s voice, can I just say one thing? Thank
goodness it isn’t because of auto-tune!

The second track, “Glowing Tree”, is an amazing and well crafted track.
It starts with mellow, echoey voices that seem to give off the effect of
a track from the 50’s or some type of gospel choir. Shaier’s voice seems to
melt in with the beats he creates. There’s a change about half way through
the song and the pace quickens, and the beat boxing gets harder. Near the
end, we are brought back full circle when the sounds revert back to the
dreamy, echoey effect we are first introduced to when the track first

“Lord of the Fly”, has to be one of the best track on the entire album. I
can honestly say that I have never heard anything quite as unique as this
before. He takes absolute advantage over any and every sound his body can
produce and turns it into music. Not many of your favorite artists can say
they can do that. This track alone proves that *Mantis Praying *is something
to talk about and something to think about. It’s simply something that takes
a while to digest. If you haven’t heard anything by Rick Shaier, you need to
hop on the bandwagon and familiarize yourself for its only short coming is
that it’s too short.

To the man on ITunes deciding whether he should “Click to buy”, or to the
woman in the store not sure if she should purchase this album: You will miss
out on one of the biggest eargasm you’ll experience this year.

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