Dead Brothers


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The fourth album by Germany's the Dead Brothers is an eclectic, at times slightly crazed, mash-up of country, psychobilly, blues, fractured art rock, and anything else that seems to come to mind. So in the album's first three songs alone, things veer from the spooky, echoed, funereal slide guitar instrumental "Trust in Me" to an assaultive, bluesy raver that sounds like the Mekons in their country period to a completely unexpected piece of big-band Gypsy jazz that sounds like it came right off the stage of the Hot Club of Paris circa 1930. Then comes the cross-culturally inexplicable "I Can't Get Enough," which sort of sounds like it might be a catchy little country-tinged song, but there's an oompah-band tuba holding down the bass and a jazzy little horn section floating in every so often. "Mustapha" turns vaguely Middle Eastern tropes into a surprisingly Kinks-like piece of character-study pop; "Am I to Be the One" and "Time Has Gone" do the same things with country and Gypsy music, respectively, and "Marlene" is a just plain weird reverie for backwards tapes, accordion, and vocals that comes from the bottom of a well. So Wunderkammer is a sprawling, at times deeply strange record that reaches across several different musical cultures and eras to create an odd but effective crazy quilt of influences. Remarkably, all of this coheres into a solidly enjoyable listen.

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