Diablo Swing Orchestra
Sing-Along Songs for the Damned & Delirious
Sensory / Lasers Edge
So there I am, sitting in my Record Reviewer Chair, drinking a Record Reviewer beer, and I grab this cartoonish disc. It opens with a swing revival brass line over congas. Snaky little riffs fly off the walls, and I hallucinate Fred and Ginger tapping backwards across my parquet ballroom floor. (Yes, I actually have a ball room. It’s not that big of a deal.) A throaty preacher calls for repentance while a chorus of peroxide blondes in short skirts and no undies praise the time “When those walls come tumbling down!” All, right! This is gonna rock — bring out the brownies!
Ah, but then a snake enters this garden of Eden by cut # three, “Lucy Feats Morning Star,” when the Diablo Swing Orchestra migrates to a metal guitar with an operatic lead vocal. This is a little scary, after all this band is from Stockholm, a center of musical darkness brought on by too little sunlight in the winter and a fondness for creamed pickled herring. Soon we hear a chorus from a demented Sweeney Todd production, an echo of Jim Morrison’s guitar, drunken Russians folk singing, and more speed metal. And opera! Always with the opera! It’s that classically trained Annlouice Loegdlund, curse her high C! And backing her up is Johannes Bergion and his satanic cello, and Andreas Halvardsson drumming, drumming, always drumming! Worse, there are not one but TWO guitars and a bass (Daniel Håkansson, Pontus Mantefors, and Andy Johansson). The sound builds and builds and then — stops. Almost. A melodic line reappears, and plaintive man calls for reunion with his girlfriend. Are we done? Is it safe to come out and clean up? Almost, another run of hammering metal and a small aria, then a hillbilly guitar riff on that infernal cello, and bravura trill of Annlouice over a thrashing guitar fading to black. Pause. Ah, the sweet release of death… can we do that again?
I think I can stand it one more time — it’s the entire Ring Cycle, played out in less than an hour.
Diablo Swing Orchestra: www.diabloswing.com