Thulla

Double Up, Please!

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Thulla and her strange, organ-based band are maturing nicely on their third album, on which Thulla's voice continues in its avant-retro, Billie Holiday-derived whinny and she continues to indulge her love of vintage swing, cabaret songs, blues, and techno. She should probably try running her lyrics past a native English speaker before committing them to tape (sample couplet: "My need to communicate suddenly/Has decided to die"), but there's a certain quirky charm to her lyrical awkwardness that goes nicely with the off-kilter instrumental arrangements that accompany them. Highlights on this album include a fun version of the Brecht/Weill classic "Alabama Song," Thulla's own "Love Is a Loser's Game," and the coolly swinging "P.O.N.R. (Point of No Return)," which consists mostly of voice and string bass with gently intricate percussion. Two versions of "Rock Me Through the Night" are more than enough, though, and the lyrics to "Beachman" come across as painfully silly rather than charmingly quirky. Recommended overall.

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