"I’m too sacred for the sinners/And the saints wish I would leave." - Mark Heard
Friday, September 28, 2012
Review - Those Darned Accordions - Amped
Oh accordion, how do I love thee? Well, apparently not much because mine hasn't been released from it's case in over a year. Other bands with accordions include They Might Be Giants and Stolen Babies, a very diverse club.
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Brandishing their accordions like really blocky frontal birth defects attached to their sternums, Those Darn Accordions are back with yet another album of squeezebox mayhem. Be warned: these are not Wisconsin accordionists. There are no polkas on this platter, just six tasty rock songs that just happen to use this much-maligned instrument. In addition to the trinity of accordions, there's a solid foundation of bass and drums that really propel the songs along. Going with the theme, this time around the songs are harder and the lyrics, while still humorous, are not outright silly, which helps make this less of a novelty album than their past releases. "Mr. Slagle's Revenge" is from the adult viewpoint of someone who blew off school. Now as he performs low-paying, menial jobs he can hear his shop teacher laughing at him. Here the accordion is put through a wah pedal, giving it a very un-accordionesque sound. You an also find the answer to the "Meaning of Life", which is essentially "Just getting' up and doin' stuff and goin' back to bed." "Enter The Douser" is about the ultimate killjoy. As I listened to this song, I found myself getting out the liner notes, thinking, "I wonder who the guitarist is… I don't remember seeing a guitarist listed in the credits… and where are my pants?" That's because there is none… guitarist, that is (the pants were on the davenport.) Those clever bellow-squeezers fed an accordion through a series of stomp boxes, creating a very guitar-sounding tone and a couple of killer "guitar" solos. No TDA album would be complete without cover songs and "Magic Carpet Ride" is the first target. The original had lots of early, wheezy rock organs and it's amazing how perfectly this translates to the accordion. The other cover is "Making Our Dreams Come True", the theme from Laverne & Shirley, played and sung in true garage band form by the two female accordionists of the band. As usual, TDA push the boundaries of what respectable folk expect from the accordion. Their use of various guitar effects is truly amazing, giving the album a broad array of aural tones. With only six tracks on this EP, it's regrettably short. However, exhaustive research and market testing has shown that for most people, seventeen minutes is the longest they can listen to the accordion, even if it does sound like a warped seventies guitar. You can search the mall for years looking for this respite from life's daily grind, or you can go to www.thosedarnaccordions.com and have it delivered to your door.
This review first appeared in WhatzUp, November 2001.