Lullabye Arkestra

Ampgrave

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Lullabye Arkestra are a bass-and-drum vocal duo that is, in practicality, anything but. Drummer Justin Small (from Do Make Say Think), and bassist Katia Taylor are Canadian soulsters who understand what deep distortion-drenched soul music is all about. This is deep white Canadian soul that packs a wallop -- especially when considered in light of the pair adding a three-piece horn section, a Hammond B-3, and a violin that is sometimes overdubbed to sound like a string section. Taylor can sing like a midnight gutter canary who has heard the intensities of both Carla Thomas and Otis Redding, but doesn't have the vocal chops necessary to pull that off, so she relies on pure guts, piss, and vinegar. With Small's less overwrought singing style (though he gets to needle-in-the-red gospel shout levels as well -- and makes Jack White doing the same thing sound like he's wearing a sterile lab coat), the duo pulls it off just fine, though the Lullabye Arkestra sound like a bar band in a horror film more than a Goldwax soul singles act. But the soul thang isn't the only trick in the band's fanny pack. They know how to roll with the lounge blues, the swampy nocturnal whelping torch songs from the dark night of the soul, dope-fiend circus music, and humid, sex-starved love ballads. The best tunes here are "Y'Make Me Shake" with its roiling-boil bass throb, "All I Can Give Ya," and "Ass Worship."

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