Frank Garvey

EROShambo

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    4
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The follow-up to the 2001 release House of the Deafman, EROShambo uses the same building blocks and personnel, but achieves a lot less by doing so. It has been self-produced and self-released, unlike Frank Garvey's previous album, and it shows. The music lacks the richness in arrangements, the variety in moods, and the professional polish that were all key aspects of House of the Deafman. EROShambo is a music-drama performed on-stage by DeusMachina, Garvey's robot theater. The music is mainly made of programmed keyboards and electronic percussion. Garvey himself sings over half of the material. Diana Trimble and Shafqat Ali Khan (also on the previous opus) contribute vocals on a few tracks and Daniel Berkman plays kora in "Stow Lake." The story line is less clear: each of the 18 pieces works like a tableau of urban low-life. Perverted characters, sleazy locales, sex, violence, and occasional genuine love cohabit in this neighborhood. Amidst the industrial soundscapes, Garvey's voice sing-speaks through a vocoder. His irregular lyrics and circumvoluting melodies violate every meter rule; the programmed percussion clangs everywhere but on the beat. Whenever Trimble takes up lead vocals it feels like a huge relief. Garvey obviously wants to convey the deviance of this world with his voice, but he is doing too much. Despite all that, there is something appealing in EROShambo, but it needs a clean-up and a finishing touch.

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