/ SUMMER-FALL 2004
REVIEWED BY MARK NEWMAN
Rating: || ||15 ½ [of
| || || |
is the brainchild of Neal Barnard, an adventurous guitarist whose previous recordings
include the post-new wave Pop Maru followed by Quartet, an enterprising composition
for electric band and string quartet.
This short-but-sweet effort mixes
metal, electronica, Vietnamese music and torch songs for a brilliant concoction
distinguished by some of the most lovely, lilting female vocals around.
Roebuck sings in English in a style slightly reminiscent of Maggie Reilly (Mike
Oldfield), while Ngoc Hoang coos in her native tongue. Both women have heavenly
voices that work well against the spare edginess of Verdun's music. "Song
to a Sparrow"' is one of the prettiest tunes you'll ever hear.
strikes a good balance between art and anachronism. He writes parts for traditional
Asian instruments, but his compositions come across as brave rather than gimmicky.
Even the band's covers ("Purple Haze" and "Stand by Your Man")
are strikingly original, which makes this one CD definitely worth seeking out.