Mannequins - Review
This project is back with another album focusing on the cabaret folk sound they've been able to establish as their own.
Spanning a dozen tracks, the dizzying sounds gush forth from each track one after another for a full album of their trademark sound featuring the core duo as
well as ethereal vocals from Simona Giusti.
As if taking cues from my previous review, this album is longer than the previous work, though features a little less diversity than before. The main focus of this
album seems to mainly be on the fast-paced loops of piano, accordion, xylophone (or similar) all combined together in a hypnotic, dizzying mixture. The imagery
that comes to mind is the round and round nautious feeling of being on a carousel that's going way too fast, something out of the movie "Something Wicket This Way
Comes", yet set in a small, haunted country village in France. This can be good and bad depending on your mood, style and other situations. For me I really
enjoy a number of individual tracks and include them on our Ethereal Radio Show, but to sit and listen to the album from start to finish in one sitting
leaves me with my head spinning, almost dizzy and nautious. Maybe there is too much of a good thing?
I don't want to leave a bitter taste in anyone's mouth because for the gothic genre fans, there are some real gems here, starting with "Found Love In A
Pain(t) (You Make Me Feel)" which also includes an accompanying video which I highly recommend watching to get a great, full picture and feel for this track.
This piece highlights the excellent mix of ethereal female vocals over the male backing vox all layered over that cabaret style of accordion, and various
folk-sounding instruments from guitar, xylophone and other synths and keyboards. Skip forward to "Beyond the Others" and we're greeted with the beautiful
ethereal style that I really grew to love with many pieces from their previous album. The haunting sounds of piano, children's laughter, subtle electronics
and percussion create an elaborate tapestry of music for the sweet angelic vocals. As the album moves along a bit we get some instrumental pieces followed by
more upbeat selections with that dizzying cabaret style. A favorite along these lines is "Little James (the soldier)" with a bit more of a folk sound while
still maintaining the hypnotic piano, 3/4 waltz rhythm for a real haunting vibe. As the album starts to wind down "Requiem for a Soldier" comes as a sort of
instrumental reprise of "Little James (the soldier)", again with more of a haunting ethereal style for a beautiful piece.
After a couple of fairly intense and even somewhat chaotic pieces, the album comes to a close and the listener is left with their head spinning and if you're
like me, a little confused. Overall there are some great selections if you pick and choose favorites as I have. The compositions are well done and the
performance of each piece is great, these are some talented artists, that's for sure. While a little chaotic, still very highly recommended for fans of
Cabaret Syndrome - Review
This talented dark folk project is the work of the Italian duo Carlo De Fillipo and GianVigo. Together with collaborations from a couple of other guest artists
including vocalist Simona Giusti, they put together a somewhat eclectic soundscape from another era with a modern twist for a unique sound.
Combining folk, ethereal, apocalyptic and cabaret sounds on this album, it seems appropriately titled and presented with nine somber pieces that fans of other dark
folk acts should really enjoy.
The album in itself is somewhat short with these nine pieces, starting off with the first short piece "Once Upon A Time In The Cabaret" as an introduction with
the old analog static sound of vinyl and music-box like piano building up to some bombastic percussion and swinging melodies flowing from an accordian while
haunting background music builds to a climactic onslaught. The album seemlessly moves on to "Blessing" which carries on this same rhythm including the accordion
carrying the waltzing rhythm. The somber melodies are accented with sweet female vocals through the chorus on this piece as well as others lending a soft ethereal
glow. "Un Gris Bord" follows closely after with a similar style and really shows how beautiful the pieces can be with these tasty, sweet ethereal vocals as this
easily becomes another favorite from the album.
Despite the inclusion of the prominent accordion throughout many tracks, the dark folk roots remain strong, this is portrayed well with the acoustic guitar on
"Un Gris Bord" and later with the military snare drums on "Leather Fire" with it's somewhat more apocalyptic feeling. This is quickly softened by the sweet
ethereal piece "Space Farewell" which features more of the excellent mix of slowly moving acoustic guitar with soft layered synths over heavier percussion and the
inclusion of male and female duet vocals.
As the album starts to come to a close with the final pieces, the instrumental work of "Ophelia's Portrait" becomes dreamy and memorable with the sweet piano
slowly building with the mix of accordion, various violins, percussion and layers of other dreamy sounds. "L'autre" becomes the last folk piece with a moving
rhythm and the dark folk styles. This gives way to the finale for the album, much like "Ophelia's Portrait" it features some beautiful piano that is completely
mesmerizing and accompanied by guitar, bells... and not to be left out, the uniquely incorporated accordion. The vocals pick up for a final climax to the album
and then we're left empty and breathless, ready to put it on repeat and listen all over again. This is an excellent work incorporating so many dreamy and
captivating elements from many of our favorite gothic-related genres of folk, ethereal, classical and so on. Don't miss out, you'll regret not having this album
in your collection.
Label: Caustic Records