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Old 10-31-2005, 11:07 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default the strange

not my cup of tea but hey....anyone who like the walkabouts should probably check this out

a very lenghty review from pitchfork:

In an era of mashups and rampant genre cross-fertilization, I suppose a collaboration between the founder of The Walkabouts-- one of the greatest and most prolific American Gothic bands of the past two decades-- and a Croatian surf-rock band with the nerve to call themselves The Bambi Molesters should come as no surprise. What is perhaps more unexpected, is that this collaboration is a resounding success. Then again, The Walkabouts' Chris Eckman's whispery rasp (which is similar to The Auteurs' Luke Haines) and the copious echo and tremolo of prime surf aren't that far removed from each other-- Johnny Cash and old trucker songs are good precedents. When The Molesters lower the lights and inject a hint of blues and jazz noir into their sound, it's a perfect match. The Croatian band's music is already spectacularly stormy and dramatic, and Eckman had previously delivered an arresting spoken performance on "Ice & Pinewood Trees", from The Molesters' excellent second album Sonic Bullets, so there was some collaborative comfort between the two parties.

Anyone who thinks of surf as expressly sunny music will have their mind changed by this record. The dual guitars of Dalibor Pavicic and Dinko Tomljanovic are dripping in cavernous spring reverb, but Hrvoje Zaborac's roomy, understated drums and Lada Furlan Zaborac's slinking bass keep them rooted on dry land, free to roam every deep old-growth forest and poorly lit alleyway they can find. Occasional piano, organ, and trumpet darken the edges, and Eckman is the deadpan centerpiece, breathily narrating the blackness of the night with a delivery perched in the gray area between spoken storytelling and melody. He goes the furthest in the latter direction on "These Lies", a beautiful, mostly acoustic piece of jazz-inflected folk that somehow combines the feel of a campfire in the woods and the pools of light on an empty city street.

Elsewhere, guitars swirl in stately rings around Eckman, and it's quite clear that this is an equal partnership. The Molesters are never relegated to backing band status-- Pavicic dances with Eckman in a melodic call-and-response on "Tonight, I Will Say Anything" and then trades off with Tomljanovic's Spaghetti Western rattle in the spaces between verses. "Tonight, I will say anything/ Any stupid, ****ed-up thing/ Anything that helps," sings Eckman in a moment of desperation, a slight sneer rising at the corner of his lips. At his most intense, he whispers his lines with utter malevolence, like Jarvis ****er on "I Spy", and his frantic take on Echo & the Bunnymen's "Villier's Terrace" is thrilling. "See It In the Dark" is the kind of frightening waltz a SoCal Tindersticks might dream up, with lyrics about intra-marital homicide and a two-pronged guitar attack that hits with tangled leads in the high end and grinding, swaying chords in the low.

Nights of Forgotten Films doesn't even feel like a collaboration-- the dynamic interactions between the players seems natural and consistently bracing. I already thought The Bambi Molesters were the best surf band in the world today, but it turns out that they're far, far more than just that, able to sublimate their thrashier tendencies in the service of a vocalist. Perhaps where this album succeeds is that there's nothing forced-- each party involved gets to play to its strengths and they effortlessly complement each other. So give credit to Eckman and his Croatian crew: Nights of Forgotten Films is everything a collaboration should be.

-Joe Tangari, December 6th, 2004

the strange - nights of forgotten films
the strange - tonight,i will say anything
“Think of what a paradise this world would be if men were kind and wise.” - Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle. | Goodreads | Letterboxd
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