Music Reviews
The Moulettes

The Moulettes The Moulettes

(Balling The Jack/Sotones) Buy it from Insound Rating - 7/10

As a music writer, I like to keep an open mind. But as an American, I see the word "bassoonist" and my red, white, and blue blood boils with the ferocity of a White Snake album. Once I've calmed myself, and taken in the complex, technically proficient chamber onslaught that is The Moulettes, I suddenly regret my American ways. Slightly.

Like some kind of English version of Squirrel Nut Zippers, The Moulettes have staked their claim in the musical playground of yesteryear with an artsy, overtly nerdy dedication. Each track on the album displays a finely tuned understanding of the craftsmanship involved in turn of the century folk and gypsy music without getting bogged down in the actual genres. Wilderness could be considered prog, but it's way more ethereal and noticeably more emotional and less dependent upon some pre-conceived notions of the arrangements of sounds. In terms of a clear sign they had to be drama geeks in high school, Going A' Gathering does the trick. The ragtime elements and male-female harmonies make it a pleasurable 11 minutes, a period that ends with bizarro psych folk that's seemingly penned by Dante himself.

But it's the lighter, more airy material that has the most staying power. Recipe For Alchemy is pure folk playfulness, with a slow, steady start that builds into pop magic, like entering the gates of some late 19th century village to the bubbly sounds of a group of minstrels. They even make world music cool, as with Talisman, which is brimming with sultry folklorico passion, a style that marries wonderfully with the free-form gypsy groove that moves like an undercurrent throughout. 

Despite being a U.S. citizen, and liking my folk a bit more rootsy, this heavily theatrical folk smorgasbord is deserving of the highest of American praises: kick ass job, y'all.