Review ·

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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