A husband and wife duo of almost overwhelming musical talent. Fleming and John
's first two albums are stylistically all over the pop music map- but lyrically are largely concerned with musings on interpersonal relationships
, wry (sometimes wacky) introspections
and observations and the occasional spiritual
subject (they are Christians).
Their's is too unique a sound to easily characterize. When they rock
, Fleming sometimes sounds a wee bit like Ann Wilson
in classic "Heart
"- only with considerably more personality and humor. The poppier entries feel a bit like "Voice of the Beehive
", or a touch like the B-52s
, only without a Fred Schneider
turning playful pop into camp
. But it is hardly fair to make comparisons when Fleming & John
have so distinct a vision and voice- so I will stop comparing them and start describing them.
Singer Fleming McWilliams
' vocal range
is considerable- certainly at least four octaves
. More impressive than her note range is the variability of her singing styles. Playful, shrill, seductive, gentle- she's extremely capable of crafting her delivery into whatever personality best suits the particular lyrics. This demonstrates not only a theatrical flexibility but a real comfort with her own identity as a singer. This is both an endearing
and extremely welcomed deviation from the standard Pop Diva
Primadonna Beyach Personality that has sadly become the rule for female entertainers
of comparable talent.
John Mark Painter
is no less a talent as an instrumentalist- demonstrating a virtuoso
's mastery of several instruments. Yet Painter doesn't fall prey to the virtuoso's conceit of self-indulgent instrumental noodling and protracted soloing. One can truly sense in his inventive orchestrations and compositions that Painter is consumed with an absolute joy of performance.
This critic recommends their second album "The Way We Are
" as an introduction to the duo.
- Fleming & John
are good friends with Ben Folds
, who sometimes is a session musician on their albums.