Kid Creole & the Coconuts


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Armed with a fresh batch of tropical tales, August Darnell (aka Kid Creole) leads his band of eccentric vagabonds in another episode of the continuing saga of Mimi. Of course, it's not necessary to read the esoteric liner notes, nor is a knowledge of previous chapters required to enjoy the installment entitled Doppelganger. As usual, the only prerequisite is an acquired taste for the bizarre, often comical travelogues set to exotic pop which represent the essence of Kid Creole & the Coconuts. Darnell's infatuation with international environments results in a soundtrack characterized by ubiquitous percussion and spirited brass and woodwinds, although electric guitar also figures prominently in several songs. Much like Paul Simon's efforts on Graceland, Darnell incorporates world music elements to add a foreign flavor to pop postcards like "It's a Wonderful Life" and "There's Something Wrong in Paradise." Yet Darnell is rarely as serious as Simon, and only Graceland's lighthearted "You Can Call Me Al" could blend inconspicuously with the material on Doppelganger. A Caribbean-styled remake of Jimmy Soul's "If You Wanna Be Happy" is indicative of the album's affable nature. The song's obsession with appearances also reveals the thematic influence behind previous Kid Creole favorites such as "Annie, I'm Not Your Daddy" and "I'm a Wonderful Thing, Baby," both of which appear on their most popular album, Wise Guy. Nothing on Doppelganger can compare to those two British hits, yet nothing will fail to satisfy devoted fans either. For the uninitiated, Doppelganger's peculiar content presents a love-it or hate-it dilemma, but captivated listeners will probably enjoy discovering the rest of Kid Creole & the Coconuts' enchanting oeuvre.

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