The one voice of Lowen & Navarro

November 30, 1995|By J. D. Considine | J. D. Considine,SUN POP MUSIC CRITIC

Vocal chemistry is a funny thing. You don't always notice when it's missing -- does anyone really care that the guys in Metallica don't sing together? -- but when it's there, it practically grabs the listener by the lapels. There's just something magical about the way two or more voices blend into a single sound.

That's certainly the case with Lowen & Navarro. The way their two voices entwine has been a part of their appeal ever since the duo had its first smatterings of success with the song "Walking on a Wire." Even better, they've refined the sound still further with their third and latest album, "Pendulum." Clearly, a sort of magic takes place when they sing together.

"The way we sing together has been natural since day one," says Dan Navarro, over the phone from a tour stop in Milwaukee.

"What really struck us when we started singing together was that we just seemed to know which parts to take," agrees Eric Lowen. "It's an intuitive thing, and it was something that we started with. I just have a feeling, which I couldn't write down, about what Dan's going to do, and he has the same thing about me."

Tellingly, that's not something either had ever experienced before. "We both were always stuck singing with other people, trying to take care of their needs, before we met," says Lowen. "Each of us was always 'The guy who could sing the harmony.' When we actually started doing it together, it was amazing, like, 'Whoa -- this is fun!' "

Originally, the two looked to the Beatles as role models, though ++ not for the usual reasons. "When Eric and I first started singing together, we were working in this restaurant as singing waiters, and it wasn't the kind of place where you wanted, necessarily, to do original material," says Navarro. "So we started listening to Beatles albums, to try to sort them out, and went all the way back.

"What we discovered was that a lot of the reason they sounded different on the early records was that they would sing in unison. The whole thing of a song being dominated by a particular voice didn't happen until quite a bit later, probably starting around 'A Hard Day's Night.' So we learned how to sing unison together."

"The unisons, they were the kicker," says Lowen. "That's the hardest harmony to sing. A lot of people don't consider it a harmony, but it is. It's very difficult to sing the same note with somebody, and when we were able to get the unisons so that they blend into a third voice, sort of, we were impressed."

Singing in such close unison doesn't necessarily mean the two have surrendered their individuality to the group. If anything, some of the songs on "Pendulum" have a strong sense of both Lowen and Navarro individually.

"We recorded it a little differently, and there was just a different process going on," says Lowen. Adds Navarro, "To a degree, we're becoming a bit more independent-minded, and so we inject more of our own personalities, rather than blending into a faceless whole."

Lowen & Navarro

When: Monday, Dec. 4, 9 p.m.

Where: Bohager's

Tickets: $12 in advance, $15 at the door

Call: (410) 481-7328

Sundial: To hear excerpts from Lowen & Navarro's latest release, "Pendulum," call Sundial at (410) 783-1800 and enter the four-digit code 6105. For other local Sundial numbers, see the

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