Kaizers Orchestra

Violeta, Violeta

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For their seventh studio album, the oil barrel-loving, gas mask-wearing, gypsy/art-rock provocateurs chose to abandon the Norwegian gangster story line that formed the arc of previous releases like Ompa Til du Dør, Evig Pint, and Maestro, and replace it with an entirely new subtext that involves a psychotic mother’s search for her daughter (Violeta) who was kidnapped by her father, all of whom embark on a twisted, Alice in Wonderland-style adventure that’s meant to span three albums. The first installment, Violeta, Violeta, finds the band in complete control of their unique vision, something that was lacking in 2008’s decent yet directionless Maskineri. The Tom Waits-inspired, Balkan rock foundation that the group has maintained over the years is still here, but it’s less prevalent this time around. Stand-out cuts like the tarantella/hip-hop onslaught “En for Orgelet, En for Meg,” the gorgeous “Philemon Arthur & the Dung,” which sounds like a mash-up of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins' “I Put a Spell on You” and the orchestral mid-section of Radiohead’s “Paranoid Android,” the wistful, radio-ready “Hjerteknuser,” and the nervy, retro-pop cacophony of “Din Kjole Lukter Bensin, Mor” and closer “Sju Bøtter Tårer Er Nok, Beatrice” -- both of which sound like modern, hi-fi Os Mutantes cuts -- all arrive fully loaded yet perfectly seasoned, dutifully presenting the new mythology with sinister elegance and typical Kaizers precision.

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