Tim Rutili's Califone had been mixing trad-minded folk-blues flavors with more experimental inclinations for a good decade by the time they put this album together, and the combination has grown increasingly seamless along the way. The electric drones, scrapes, buzzes, and squalls of avant-garde abandon are not isolated occurrences that exist outside the structure of the songs; they're encompassed by the structures. If anything, All My Friends Are Funeral Singers is a more lambent effort than its predecessors, but one that feels fully a part of the band's evolutionary progress. The marimba-like tones of "Krill," for example, bear echoes of Psychic TV's "The Orchids," covered by Califone on their previous album, Roots & Crowns, and the ambient folk side of the band's musical personality has been more pronounced with each release. Even the most overtly experimental moments on the album often feel homemade and organic -- more like madmen clanging around in an underground cave than sonic scientists engaged in academic exercises. Ostensibly, the big news item about All My Friends Are Funeral Singers is the fact that it's the musical companion to a film of the same name, directed and written by Rutili, about a woman living in a house full of ghosts. On tour, the band's plan would be to provide a live soundtrack to the film. This isn't their first venture into film scores, but even if it were, the real question is whether or not the album stands up on its own. It does, as it's filled with engagingly warm-sounding tunes mating melodic accessibility with a winning lyrical evanescence powered by the same kind of poetic dream logic that's cropped up in Califone's concepts before. So do those voices and sounds that occasionally fly in from out of nowhere come from the film? Who cares? They work within the music, and for our immediate purposes, that's what matters.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by J. Allen