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The Burns Unit – Side Show

August 29, 2010 by  

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The Burns Unit – Side Show

NAME: The Burns Unit
ALBUM: Side Show
DATE: 2August2010

LABEL: Proper Music

RATING: 4/5

FIVE WORD REVIEW: From Jaunty Folk To Epics

LOCATION: Scotland

LINE UP: Karine Polwart (vocals, acoustic guitar, percussion, shruti box), Emma Pollock (vocals, acoustic & electric guitars, piano) , Future Pilot AKA (bass, atmospherics) ,Kim Edgar (vocals, acoustic & electric guitars, piano, accordion, organ), King Creosote (vocals, acoustic guitar, accordion, keyboards), Mattie Foulds (drums, percussion)

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WHAT’S THE STORY?: Scottish/Canadian folk pop ‘supergroup,’ featuring acclaimed artists who combinine forces. This lush theatrical production of an album showcases their eclectic talents in a huge performace of curious tracks that wouldn’t be out of place as Arcade Fire B-sides.

SOUNDS LIKE: From frothy numbers like ‘Trouble’ to the urgency of ‘Send Them Kids to War,’ ‘Side Show’ sounds like the soundtrack to a particularly epic musical, perhaps staged in a mountain vista somewhere as gale force winds lash the performers, and storms threaten to overwhelm the music. Not unlike the Decemberists last effort in this respect, the album progresses along cohesively, allowing six different singers to take the helm of rich arrangements of vocals. ‘Blood, Ice And Ashes’ being a powerful example of poignancy that builds from a delicate vocal line into a giant climax of pounding drums.

While fundamentally a folk record, enough Neutral Milk Hotel-esque ‘dream rock’ crops up every now and again to keep things sounding epic, with some of the regional accents here evoking memories of Jeff Magnum’s own grizzled drawl. The range of instruments used here is truly breathtaking at times, accordians blending seemlessly into synthesised sections or spiky guitars – a raucous display that somehow works.

Sure, some of the female vocals grate at times, but there is enough here to regard this as a minor gripe. ‘Side Show’ is a theatrical journey through jaunty folk rock that deserves to match the success of its contemporaries.

YOU’LL LIKE THIS IF: If you were salivating in anticipation for the new Arcade Fire and Broken Social Scene albums.

LINK: http://www.myspace.com/theburnsunitband


Submitted By Nadia


 

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