For their third release, the Canadian string supergroup Sultans of String has ushered out a dozen mesmerizing examples of modern gypsy, Cubano, Arabic, flamenco, and other Euro-trad musics oft recalling the best of It's a Beautiful Day (Chris McKhool has a very David LaFlamme / Richard Greene inflected style and tone) along with the burgeoning world music groups that have so successfully melded various styles into cohesive entablatures of sonic folk-art reaching beyond the confines of staid classicalism. Move is a vibrant example of just what that means.
Besides the five members, a number of sessioneers have been added, and cats like Kevin Turcotte and his trumpet put an extra scintillating glint in the gold of various tracks. His work especially in Montreal is superlative, the Sultans' instruments dancing all around the gent's Baltic refrains. Surprisingly, save for a cover of Neil Young's Heart of Gold with a brisk complicated percussive underpinning, all the songs were written by the group members, though you'd swear cuts like Emerald Swing were composed by Grapelli and others…and, man, does it ever swing!, Drew Birston's bass sounding like a cross between that four-stringed axe and the lower register of a trombone while skinsman Rosendo Leon throws in a delightful middle section of Spike Jonesery.
Nail down the furniture 'cause you're going to want to jump up and dance to a lot of this CD—though lightly wistful cuts like Josie are late afternoon reflective, Kevin Laliberte's Paul Speer-ish electric guitar floating as though a benevolent UFO above the pastorality. Eddie Paton sticks to a nylon string throughout the disc, and its Old World presence is absolutely essential to the band's solid foundation in elder airs, something Eddie Tolar's ney (an Arabic flute) adds to tremendously in Road to Kfarmishki. These guys put a lot of thought into their compositions and arrangements, each song a study in rich effulgent cerebration, and it's precisely that element which keeps securing their increasingly warm reception among sophisticated music aficionados.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2011, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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