Forced March


    you obsess over Tom Waits’s mangy middle period, you’ve probably never
    heard a ukulele, accordion, singing saw and glockenspiel collaborating
    on a Romanian circus march before. With its debut, Forced March, Madagascar wants to rectify that deplorable state of affairs. The
    Baltimore collective, featuring members of the Big Huge, the Roman
    Empire and the Anomoanon, makes soundtracks for the kind of boozy
    carnivals and boozier funerals that signify life in an Eastern European



    Some will hear sadness or nostalgia in Madagascar’s dirges and waltzes, and certainly the languorous pace and mournful saw on “I’m So Tired of Violets (Take Them All Away)” suggest the
    kind of barstool melancholia that Dirty Three does much better. But all
    implied emotions eventually give way to boredom. Madagascar fails to do
    anything with its gloomy melodies other than dress them up with kooky
    instrumentation. There’s no risk, no improvisation, no grit. Even
    worse, there’s a condescending whiff of irony in the faux-exotic sounds
    and tongue-in-cheek song titles.
    If Madagascar’s music comes
    from some non-existent Balkan village, I don’t imagine it being such a
    fun place to visit, even hypothetically.


    Mp3: “All That Spring You Could See Halley’s Comet


    Mp3: “Son of a Hunchback Lithographer” (Forced March outtake)


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