Darla Farmer, Rewiring The Electric Forest

Anthony Mark Happel

Darla Farmer, Rewiring The Electric Forest [Paper Garden]

By Anthony Mark Happel

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This seven-piece ensemble loads up on equipment: guitars, bass, drums, violin, trombone, trumpet, and they have two keyboard players. But I don’t really comprehend what the shinola they’re doin’ here. I don’t think they do, either, and that’s the problem. They’re not a ska band, but the bleating horns sound so much like that crossover ska-pop from the late 90s it’s hard to listen to some of it.

So much so that their attempt at reeling in some authentic-sounding, kuntry-gypsy, carnival jams doesn’t really ever pan out. “The Quotient” and “History” are far too irritating, and just plain frantic for no reason. There’s a “Dresden Dolls piano sound” rumbling up from the bottom, occasionally, but it doesn’t fundamentally change things. The violin takes way too long to make a prominent appearance, and when it does on “The Strangler Fig” it starts out well with the barking horns taking a backseat, but as soon as they jack up the volume and tempo, the squawking starts again, and the whole thing goes haywire. They’re shooting for “good noisy” but, in the main, they only achieve “bad noisy.” They should take a lesson from some of their Saddle Creek buddies. They need to dump the horns and go back to the drawing board.

 
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