Friday, May 7, 2010

Diablo Swing Orchestra Sing-Along Songs for the Damned & Delirious

Opening the set with “A Tap Dancer’s Dilemma,” Diablo Swing Orchestra quickly shows the revelers why they are one of the more interesting musical units banging around the countryside. It’s a song filled with so many huge musical movements that I’m sure I’ll pass over more than a handful in describing the epic piece of sonic art. The opening drum salvo and subsequent groove of bass with accompanying horn section capture the swing in the band’s name. Add the huge walls of distorted guitars and the harmonizing female vocals, and this song captures the imagination by transporting the listener to some deep dark corner, the seediest of the seedy jazz clubs of the 1940’s. The composition of this track is absolutely, hands down, one of the most impressive and compelling pieces that I’ve ever listened to. I mean, listen to how the band seamlessly shifts from over dramatic male vocal performances, to harmonized female vocals, dropping all of the instrumentation out of the mix and leaving the guitar, acoustic nonetheless, hanging for a brief, yet brilliant moment, then dropping the instrumentation again to leave the bass guitars to deftly reach out and grab all of the instruments back into the fold. Listen for the fantastic guitar solo being played over the more subtle jazz rhythms, and then how the guitar fades out, leaving nothing but bass rumbling its groove. The incorporation of the various instruments leaves me breathless. How in God’s name did they patch this bad boy together and make the whole thing work?

And, it’s not just the first track on the album. Diablo Swing Orchestra creates and re-creates this same musical effect on all ten tracks gracing Sing Along Songs. “A Rancid Romance” starts off with a classically distorted wall of guitars powering out the rhythms in time with the fabulously produced drums. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, the triumphant strains of a trumpet screams through the din, providing a bit of a Latin flair to the music. And then another trumpet harmonizes with the first . . . and then the operatic vocals of Annlouice Wolgers (?) in duet with guitarist/vocalist, Daniel Hakansson . . . and then the emergence of the cello providing an air of macabre . . . and then the dual vocal harmonies at the chorus creating an overwhelming sense of panic . . . and then horns again . . . It’s a psychotic journey of paranoia and superb musicianship. Owing as much to classical music as modern metal, Diablo Swing Orchestra have created a sound that is clearly their own. It’s refreshing to hear a new and unique, and utterly compelling voice in the world of music!

'A Tapdancer's Dilema', 'A Rancid Romance', 'Lucy Fears The Morning Star', 'Bedlam Sticks', 'New World Widows', 'Siberian Love Affairs', 'Vodka Inferno', 'Memoirs Of A Roadkill', 'Ricerca Dell’anima', 'Stratosphere' Serenade'.


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