Mimi Betinis “All That Glitters”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#319 in the Series) is Mimi Betinis, All That Glitters.

Mimi Betinis, All That Glitters was released on Feb 11th, 2011. (If I ever use the term “dropped, “please shoot me!) I know we’re only in the 1st quarter of the year but as of today, this is my favorite album of the year. There’s a real good chance that it’s not going to be topped either.

Mimi (short for Demetrios) is the former leader of the Chicago area band “Pezband.”  Pezband was called a power pop act. Here’s what you probably did not know. They were the first band to be referred to as being a power pop act.  It was a term that their label’s PR department created. The term is now a radio and industry standard.

Mimi Betinis

This album continues on the promise that Pezband delivered, and then some.  Yes, you can hear a heavy dose of Beatles influence.  It’s not like we haven’t said that in the past for many, many artists. Here, Mimi pays homage to his Beatles influence without trying to duplicate the Beatles sound.  I can also hear more than a touch of Nick Lowe coming thru as well. Again, another artist that resides on my favorites list!

What amazes me here are one, the song writing, two the performance and three, the production.   Let’s talk about that third item first. I’d love to know how long Mimi and producer Stan Skora spent on this project! There are so many sounds and layers being thrown at you. A harmony out of one direction and another “sound “from another.  It all adds up to such a wonderful listening experience.

The first track is also the first single, “Love is Just  a Thin Veneer.” I’ve included the video below. This is a fine representation of what you’ll find on this album. But not all that you’ll find.

The Second track “Come On Down to My House” is one that leans heavily on those layers that I’ve mentioned earlier. I’d call this the most quirky track on the album. I love the fact that they put it second on the disc. There were other songs that are a little more accessible if they chose the safe way about doing things. This challenges the listener a little more. It also tells you that you really aren’t sure what’s coming next, now do you?

That would be ‘Blue Sky.” This might be my favorite track on the album.  The Ides of March horn section of Chuck Soumar and Dave Stalhberg bring this one up a level. As does Carla Hassett’s harmony vocal. Again, the production here is so deep.  It’s something that you often don’t get with power pop.

Artwork by Mimi Betinis

“Romance Me” is the song where I can hear some Nick Lowe influence. That is if Nick were still producing tracks like this. Think 70s and 80s Nick Lowe.

“Summer Rain” is a lush instrumental that adds variety to this work. It features many sounds including violin, cello, flute, clarinet, French horn and glockenspiel.

Another song I want to highlight is “Say The Word.”  This track is so unique and so strong. It’s tracks like this that separate this album from other great albums.  The first half of the song is mostly Mimi singing over tracks of his own voice. The second half builds with some instrumentation along with Carla’s vocals once again.

We also are treated to a nice rendition of John Lennon’s “Across the Universe.” It’s not a copy, but it’s not a complete redoux either.   It’s a nice balance between the two.

The album finished with a more acoustic version of “Love is Just a Thin Veneer.”

I don’t know how often you purchase albums just off a review. If you do that just one time in 2011. Make it this one. Get it and play it loudly!!  Then come back and tell us if we’re right.

I’ve included a link below to CD Baby. You can purchase the disc there, you can download it there or you can go can just visit to hear samples of the all the songs.

–Larry Carta

Track Listing

  1. Love Is Just A Thin Veneer 3:41
  2. Come On Down To My House 4:11
  3. Blue Sky 4:27
  4. Romance Me 2:53
  5. Walk With Me 3:19
  6. Summer Rain 3:18
  7. Say the Word 3:28
  8. What’s Your Name? 3:37
  9. Every Little Thing 2:42
  10. Across the Universe 3:52
  11. Love Is Just A Thin Veneer-acoustic version

Personnel

  • Mimi Betinis – Vocals, Guitars
  • Carla Hassett – Vocals
  • Chris Massa – Bass
  • Carlo Iaccino – Drums, Tamborine
  • Stephanie Lee – Violin
  • Ari Levi –Cello
  • Doug Brush – Percussion
  • Chuch Soumar + Dave Stahlberg (Ides of March Horns) – Horns
  • Keli Allsion – Vocals
  • Dave Bender – Steel Guitar
  • Rory Bender- Glockedspiel
  • Samantha Rose – Flute, Clarinet, French Horn
  • Ned Babb – Guitar

Links

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Posted by Larry Carta

16 Comments

  1. Stephen (20 Mar 2011, 4:26)
    Reply

    Larry that is absolutely brilliant ! never heard of that guy in my life but what a song (first vid) . Love it.

  2. Dakota Red (20 Mar 2011, 12:24)
    Reply

    You couldn’t have said it better! This CD @ max volume is INSPIRATION of THE YEAR

  3. Bosch (21 Mar 2011, 10:37)
    Reply

    You are right!!! Fantastic, great tunes and we even love the cover art! Can’t wait for the live show!

  4. Scott May (21 Mar 2011, 10:37)
    Reply

    Spot on review! Great to have Mimi back with new music. Really fine stuff…

  5. Mike Arturi (21 Mar 2011, 11:05)
    Reply

    Great review and fantastic music. Mimi is a brilliant talent.

  6. Dave Bender (21 Mar 2011, 11:28)
    Reply

    Larry, very nice review of my friend Mimi’s new CD! I think you really nailed it! Very clever songs from a tall talent. My son & I had the privilege of working with him on this album and can tell you that he is an absolute dream to work with, just one of the nicest people on the planet! Mimi is an extraordinary talent that has musical vision ….. he has the whole package, a brilliant songwriter, guitar player, keyboardist and vocalist… as evidenced in his All That Glitters work. Stan did a phenomenal job of crafting the production in support of Mimi to create an entire musical journey. I encourage everyone to acquire this CD and really listen to it, there are so many things to discover within. So, this album is just the start of his return, He has a lot music, songs and messages pent-up inside of him, stay tuned! More to come.

  7. Bebe (21 Mar 2011, 13:13)
    Reply

    Fantastic! I love every song on this great CD. It’s definitely at the top of my list for album of the year.

  8. Mike Cross (21 Mar 2011, 14:46)
    Reply

    i’ve known Mimi since forever . Good to hear …this great !!! One of the best yet. Looking forward to more!

  9. Bluette (21 Mar 2011, 15:16)
    Reply

    Mimi Betinis is absolutely at the top of his game!

  10. Larry Carta (21 Mar 2011, 18:50)
    Reply

    Here’s a great article on Mimi. This was brought to my attention by Mike Ruffone

    http://triblocal.com/oak-park-river-forest/community/stories/2010/11/power-pop-teacher-keeps-teaching/

  11. Andrew Williams (22 Mar 2011, 11:46)
    Reply

    “All That Glitters” is a fine journeyman effort by one of the most unsung guitar players in the business. I’ve seen Mimi play live for years going all the way back to Pezband. This is some of his best stuff ever.

  12. Richard Holmes (22 Mar 2011, 18:30)
    Reply

    Mimi inspired me and taught me how to play bass guitar in 1964. He’s still an inspiration today. And so is this CD.

  13. Kristina B (23 Mar 2011, 14:38)
    Reply

    Love this. Awesome, can’t wait to catch him live!

  14. Warthog (27 Mar 2011, 12:56)
    Reply

    For those who remember Pezband, this CD will be a revelation of a breadth and depth to Mimi’s talent that goes beyond the power pop masterpiece he had a prominent role in with that band. To those who come to this CD with no expectations, the shock will be even greater.

    As one of his former bandmates said to me in an email conversation “Yes, he’s THAT good. He always has been.”

    Additionally, the cover art is also Mimi’s – his talent is not limited to music, let alone a single genre of music.

  15. Amy Z. (27 Mar 2011, 16:41)
    Reply

    Great to read this review and see these videos of Mimi — whom I have known since the mid-60’s. Old friends forever. So much talent — always evident and again manifested. Touring? San Francisco I hope.

  16. Clif "Bassclif" (29 Jan 2012, 21:00)
    Reply

    This is Songwriting at it’s Best ! LOVE the CD,especially “Every Little Thing”,”Come On Down To My House” and Love Is Just A Thin Veneer.”The Artwork is totally FAB,buthey…Mimi’s am ARTIST all-the-way around.This CD reminds me of the British 60’s “Flower Power” Sound.BUY YOU COPY TODAY & get GROOVY baby !!! Clif”Bassclif -3one2



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