El Musico

Strange People's Parade

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    8
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With their debut EP, El Musico chose a track that had been well-paved by Tom Waits, but that had seen few other groups. But while the rag-tag orchestra image -- complete with a barrel-organ, black ill-fitting suits, and songs about a mystic cabaret that wants to hire the singer -- definitely is Tom Waits, the orchestral feeling and the East European influences save El Musico from being merely a duplicate, as do the beautiful duets by Rangmar and Andréasson. Compared to El Musico's first full-length album that would be released in 2001, the hobo theme works better here, both lyrically and musically. The ideal is not rhythmic perfection and with all its flaws (and even thanks to them) the orchestra manages to create an impressive organic feeling, like in the last song, "Stormy Weathers," with violins and a murky organ, haunting choruses, and slow, stumbling drums sweeping over the listener in waves. On the whole, El Musico keeps much to a melancholy tone, only raising the tempo once in the klezmer-influenced "Wooden Hearts."

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