The promo lit here claims this very cool meta-folk band to be a "supergroup" but it's unnecessary overhype, as the eccentric, ambivalently honeyed-drear, and abstract rhythms and sonorities of The Sweetness will readily remind one of some of the upper level odd bands that can never be shed from memory once laying ear to them. I'm particularly thinking of the extraordinary but unknown 70s progfolk group Comus and then more recent manifestations of various stripes in common with Rasputina, Lene Lovich, and sundry idiosyncs, all of whom enjoyed differing degrees of a strangely pop combination of demented novo-Shakespearean madrigal along with Greenwich Village acid, gauzy cabaret, and the breakdown of the old Mitchell, Safka, Collins, Baez school into post-fin de siècle ebbwash. The Sweetness, that is to say, follows in manifold footsteps with studied elegance, confidence, and undeniable maturity.
What's It Like to be a Sprinkler is a 6-song extended EP that might as well be from a side alley supergroup despite my initial cynicism, so knowing are its virtues and so sophisticated its contents, even to the lite jazz lounge of Sweet on Me. The CD is subtly striking and charming simultaneously, almost disarming, sounding as though produced by John Cale at his post-Velvet Underground apogee…but, nope, it's Gordon Raphael, who produced The Strokes. Singer Chloe Charles is the vortex of the drearily beautiful swirling decadence, with bowed double-bassist Sam McLellan of Canada providing dark quasi-classicalist refrains, the two hooking up with Texans Aly Tadros and Douglas Jay Boyd. The result is organic, literate, boundary breaking, and soma of a different order.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2011, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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