Rainbow Arabia

Boys and Diamonds

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    8
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AllMusic Review by

The husband-and-wife duo of Danny & Tiffany Preston may hail from Los Angeles, but it was a Lebanese Casio keyboard (programmed to play microtonal scales and various Middle Eastern rhythm patterns) that inspired them to create their unique brand of globe-trotting poptronica. Their first full-length album (following two EPs) finds them settling into a well-developed and highly personal sound that draws from any number of exotic musical cultures without depending too much on any one of them. The album's title track offers what may be the perfect introduction to Rainbow Arabia's art: glistening guitar lines, lurching rhythms, dubbed-up baby-doll vocals, wordless whoops, and a tight-but-dreamy melody combine to make one of the more original sounds currently on the market. One writer has compared Rainbow Arabia to the Tom Tom Club sitting in with Congotronics, and that describes things pretty nicely. There are times when other comparisons come to mind as well: "Papai" kind of sounds like Cocteau Twins at the Black Ark; "Hai" could be Ari Up in the studio with Starkey on the boards; "Nothin Gonna Be Undone" sounds a bit like Siouxsie Sioux in a futuristic flamenco bar. Sometimes befuddling but never boring, Rainbow Arabia is making music that ultimately sounds like no one else's.

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