Diablo Swing Orchestra

Sing-Along Songs for the Damned & Delirious

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Imagine a cross between the Squirrel Nut Zippers, some of J.G. Thirlwell's more swing/exotica-oriented work, and Lacuna Coil and you've got Diablo Swing Orchestra. This Swedish group combines swing and hot jazz in a '30s style with metal and operatic female vocals, with the results being quite compellingly weird, though decidedly not for everyone. Their instrumentation -- guitar, trumpet, keyboards, bass, cello, drums, and dual male-and-female vocals -- allows for a fair amount of energy and style-hopping, but the songs always work as songs rather than as mere displays of instrumental/vocal technique (though it must be said that Annlouice Wolgers has an astonishing voice), and their thrashy riffs have a groove that'll get any moshpit moving. The European funhouse/carnival atmosphere occasionally gets a little too thick, giving Sing-Along Songs the feeling of an elaborate joke, but the Orchestra always gets quickly back on track, with songs like "A Tap Dancer's Dilemma" offering thoughtful lyrics atop the rampaging swing-metal grooves. Ultimately, this is too weird a record to ever succeed in any kind of mainstream way, but fans of the groups cited above (or of Tim Burton movies, as Danny Elfman's soundtracks to them are a clear stylistic reference point) will almost certainly dig it.

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