17 Pygmies

Jedda by the Sea

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The first full-length album by Seventeen Pygmies is an exotic, moody affair. Most of the tracks are instrumentals with Middle Eastern-inspired guitar lines over a background of keyboards and percussion. Given that Phil Drucker and Robert Loveless had both been members of Savage Republic, which dabbled in Middle Eastern moods from time to time, this isn't surprising. What is surprising is the delicacy and muted grandeur throughout Jedda by the Sea, far from the industrial clang of the typical Savage Republic release. The moods evoked are sometimes languid, sometimes taut and tense, in a way that shows some growth from the Hatikva EP, but has continuity of style. Though they are sparingly used, the ethereal, almost ghostly, vocals of Louise Bialik fit this material beautifully. When it was released, this album managed some airplay, despite the fact that less than a thousand copies were originally made. This folk-pop classic is a collector's item due to the high quality of the album and small number of units originally released. If you can get your hands on an authentic copy with the original artwork you are indeed fortunate.

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