Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Petticoats and crinolines and theremins and violins...

A new one from a founding member of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, reviewed today in Blurt.

Justin Robinson and the Mary Annettes
Bones for Tinder
(Five Head)

"Petticoats and crinolines and theremins and violins, uh-huh, " goes the chant in "Bright Diamonds," as a deadpan observer itemizes the tipsy, traditionally-instrumented, but anything but old-fashioned stew that Justin Robinson has cooked up in his first post-Carolina Chocolate Drops recording. "Bright Diamonds" builds tension out of old-time elements, a percussive slash of violin, a shimmer of dulcimer, syncopated rhythms of foot thumps and handclaps, and a criss-crossing nexus of spoken word parts that sounds more like hip hop than mountain hop. Like many of the other songs in Bones for Tinder, it starts in folk, but heads unexpectedly in other directions. "Ships and Verses," turn hand-clapping syncopation into a sepia-tinged beat-box, as Robinson raps about "rock[ing] it like old-school Janet. " Classic soul gets a nod, too, in "Vultures." Here Robinson threads a line from Marvin Gaye through eerie glimmers of dulcimer and billowy ribbons of fiddle music, crooning "You're all I need...to get by...oh-oh" in a ghostly cabaret tenor. "Kissin' and Cussin'" could be from Erykah Badu, except for the dulcimer, a slow-jammed, female-MC'd rap running into Robinson's cracked folk verse.


No comments: