Some Press From The Past

Northeast Performer, June 1998
“...Melissa Kaplan's voice soars from an airy whisper to a gut-wrenching screech in a moment's notice. Utilizing a Middle Eastern influence to ornament her already otherworldly melody sense, Kaplan flourishes and trills a wickedly extravagant charm to each of these songs.”

Instant Magazine Live Reviews, Issue #6, July/August 1996
Splashdown, based on these elements, can easily celebrate their maiden voyage a success. What put them over the top, however, was the incredible pipes of a young woman with a microphone and some sort of pained, mournful ghost inhabiting her body. She smiled shyly as the band took the stage and explained that she'd never done this before. This possessed siren then opened her mouth and let forth with the kind of sweeping, dancing wail that you might expect to hear coming from over the wall as you live out your sentence in a crumbling Turkish prison. To describe this voice as eerie and haunting doesn't do it justice.
I find it extremely gratifying to come across a band that allows such talent to discover itself. In between songs, the crowd was abuzz with exclamations of "Did you hear that?" and "What a voice!” Splashdown rings in your ears long after the last synth is unplugged.
-- Bob Toevs

Interview with Glen Ballard in MIX Magazine (1999)
“...It’s just exquisite. They’re so musical, and Melissa {Kaplan} has such a distinctive voice, I just fell in love with the whole vibe of the band. It’s just an exotic flavor that’s unique to them.”

Pop Culture Press Magazine, Austin, Texas, November 1998
“...It also helps when you have a vocalist like Melissa Kaplan. Kaplan's delivery and tone seem to have matured slightly from Stars and Garters. In the space of an EP she can conjure a voice that roars and whispers with equal power. The high point to the EP is the beautifully delirious "Sugar High." A quickstep beat with cutting guitars lets vocalist Melissa Kaplan fly from a deep, soulful wail to a high thin whisper. The combination is a fantastic song that leaves a taste on the tongue long after the first taste. Most bands would give their sampler and effect racks to craft such a song, and Splashdown can toss it off on an EP. It makes one hungrier for an album... how about it, guys? “
-- Boon Sheridan

Magnet Magazine, April/May 1997 issue
“...without letting one approach dominate any song or the album as a whole. By shrewdly mixing the acoustic and electric with the synthetic, they have fashioned a catchy, danceable electro-rock hybrid that could set standards for the next wave of modern pop music. Crooker serves up the atmospheric electronics and grooving beats; Kaplan supplies plenty of vocal dexterity (from blues to jazz to Middle Eastern inflections) and Buhler plays melodic, energized guitar parts -- whether in a romantic pop vein, with more of a hard-rocking crunch, or otherwise. Think lush techno-pop. Think atmospheric rock. Think dark trip-hop. Think Splashdown.”
-- Bryan Reesman

The Daily Athenaeum, Wednesday, February 5, 1997
West Virginia University's Campus Newspaper
Purchase this album and receive a travel package inclusive of an emotional train ride that departs from somewhere in Turkey in the middle of the night, whisks its passengers through the distresses of Tori Amos' hometown, travels on through the ether until refueling in the splendor of the Cocteau Twins' backyard. Departing once again, passengers continue on a journey that is as compelling as it is mysterious. By the time you reach track 7, "Paradox," the train is left behind, and all passengers board a spacecraft that thunders through the heavens powered by the voice of vocalist Melissa Kaplan.

The clickety-clack of the train on the tracks is provided by the synthesized percussion of Kasson Crooker, and the vibration felt by the passengers in the cabin comes from Adam Buhler's bass.

Critics believe that the highlight of this album is "So Ha," a syncopated vocal free-for-all that reminds some of Bjork's "It's Oh So Quiet." It reminds me of upbeat Amos compositions, but maybe that's just because the vocals are set against a piano (almost an Amos trademark in the world of alternative music). I like "Beguiled," a dark, rough dance-beat song with lyrics a la Elysian Fields dripping from the inside. I can't get enough of the college radio song "Pandora," an acoustic guitar-driven exhibition of perfect songwriting composition.
Not only would I pay cash immediately for this CD, but I would even sell CDs if necessary.
-- Robert Swink

Capitol City Arts & Entertainment Magazine, March 1997
Splashdown's debut record Stars and Garters is an original mix of futuristic beats and Eastern European vocals, all of which merge into a very alternative style of playing. The group's playing style is unique because lead vocalist and songwriter Melissa Kaplan has the skill to match the background guitar and bass with her gifted singing, while combining her studies of Eastern European, jazz, and blues music to create a very open and progressive sound. From techno to pop, this group is wild while not going overboard.
-- M. Burns

Lollipop Magazine, Issue 34 (March 1, 1997)
It's the Grammy Showcase. Swarms of Boston industry big wigs and hierarchical wannabes fill The Middle East as Splashdown takes the stage. The lights dim as muddled transmissions a la Cape Canaveral come through in all their sampled eerieness while the synthesizer hesitatingly leads us into the ethereal and entrancing vocal line of singer Melissa Kaplan. The arrangement is sparse. The melody takes precedence, bringing the audience into the ambient groove backed by steady trip-hop rhythms produced by Kasson Crooker with the help of modern technology a la Macintosh and band leader Adam Buhler supporting the groove amply and effortlessly on bass.
The band is dressed in rubber and latex with soulful front woman Kaplan cutting a fierce figure in a latex cat suit Julie Newmar and Eartha Kitt would scratch each other's eyes out for. Kaplan's vocal lines captivate the audience as the crowd sways in the over-crowded stage front area. After the opening song "Paradox" the band leads into "Deserter;" both songs, and most of the rest of the set, were taken from their album Stars and Garters (Castle von Buhler). The bass stands out, emphasizing the laid-back waltz groove (capably held down by Kasson, Adam, and live drummer Lex Marburger) and allowing Kaplan's melodies to spin and twist around, enchanting and entreating us. "Beguiled" brought the intensity up with the addition of electric guitar and Melissa's heavier vocal stylings, transforming the crowd into writhing, panting devotees caught up in the hypnotic weaving rhythms and hook-laden melodies. Although plagued with technical problems for part of the performance, Splashdown put on an extraordinary live show evidenced by the angry, disappointed wails of the entranced crowd as the band left the stage after far too short* a set.
-- Katy Shea

CMJ Weekly Review, Issue #499 (November 18, 1996)
If there were a musical genealogy that linked Turkish chant, synth-pop, techno, and trip-hop, Splashdown would be included among the latest generation to carry the family banner with all stripes showing. Creating an interesting hybrid that's sometimes reminiscent of artists ranging from Cocteau Twins to The Creatures to Bjork, Melissa Kaplan delivers beautiful, often ethereal vocal melodies against a background of mostly synthesized percussion and floating fretless bass lines by Kasson Crooker and Adam Buhler (both ex-Sirensong). The opening track, "Thunder," gives a hint of how a rock band would sound playing in an opium den--with an Arabic electro-takht ensemble, and twisting utterances that straddle both Western pop melodies and Middle Eastern scales. But Splashdown don't keep their tent stakes tapped too deeply in foreign soil, moving quickly to the charming "Pandora" with Kaplan's silky voice set against a stuttering drum kit and jangly guitar. "So Ha" is a welcome respite on Stars And Garters, revealing an impish quality similar to Bjork's "It's Oh So Quiet." Also get comfortable with the mesmerizing "Running With Scissors," whose text is from a Maori (New Zealand) love song, and an overall effect that sounds like a techie version of The Creatures.
-- David Avery

Lillith Fair
Melissa Kaplan: vocalist/piano
Adam Buhler: guitars/bass
Kasson Crooker: programming/keyboards

It's 1999 and rock & roll has shattered into 1,001 shards, each fragment representing a new direction, a possible new beginning. Boston-based trio Splashdown celebrate the unlikely connections between mythology and technology, thought and emotion, melody and beat, human and machine, the ancient and the modern. Splashdown's debut Java/Capitol Records album, Blueshift, is a kind of psychic odyssey. From a Middle Eastern mosque to a smoke-filled neon jazz lounge to a 21st-century Star Wars cantina, Splashdown's songs touch on the innocence and naivete of the '50s as well as the chill of a high-tech future. Their music collides and connects to form new patterns and unique combinations of new sounds just within reach.

Splashdown: Some Live Venues