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Posted: October 6th, 2004, by Stuart Fowkes

Something of a neo-classical gypsy violin-stuffed treat today, from New York’s Tarantula, who stitch together elements of chamber orchestra and post-rock to create something really rather good. Opening track ‘Rail’ plucks its way in minimally enough, the doleful opening section enough to make me roll my eyes at the ostensible similarities between Tarantula and Tarentel, but it builds up triumphantly into something like what Rachel’s might sound like after forty cups of coffee and a spell living in travelling caravans. The mid-section has the feel of an instrumental version of something like ‘Cemetery Polka’ by Tom Waits, and really hits the mark where it combines traditional strings from the Romanian orphanage side of the tracks, with the bold, stomping bass ‘n’ drums undercarriage of something altogether more Western. Yer bog-standard post-rock-spotter’s-points instruments the glockenspiel and melodica pop up to pad the sound out from time to time, and occasionally the band lose their focus and drift into pleasant but in no way arresting bistro music, as in the first half of ‘Opening Theme’. On the whole, though, they’re most successful when hammering together the disparate elements of their lineup to create something that sounds like the soundtrack to some moody eastern European film, as played by Sophia or the Chicago Underground Duo. Good stuff.

More info: Tarantula website

Stuart Fowkes

Stuart is possibly one of the tallest people you have ever seen. He towers above your puny skyscrapers like Rodan on steroids, his blonde spikes puncturing the atmosphe re like crazed, gelled knives. In real life he is part of the Sunnyvale Noise Sub-element pop outfit, and writes for other websites as well as this one - the cheeky blighter. He favours the noisier end of the musical spectrum, with a fervour which would seem to indicate a dodgy heavy metal past.


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