Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Whalers

Let’s start with just the barest facts. The potential transgressions. This clocks in at 6 minutes. It’s a cover of a Dylan tune. There’s, um, ample semi-dramatic overblown flute, done in a sort of wannabe Rahsaan Roland Kirk style. And, most egregious of all, the conga player throws in an awful lot of these little lick-your-index-finger-and-slide-it-across-the-drumhead-to-produce-a-moaning-whale-song-sound things. You’d think that would add up to a perfect storm of suckiliciousness, but no. Somehow the "flavor profile" goes through some kind of alternate-universe hydrogen-bonding ionizing valence switch – everything that should create lameness actually adds awesomeness. Some singers know how to "ooh" or interject "baby!" or grunt to fill out a line, or add an accent. Melanie is a master of the "da da-da," flicked off as an afterthought, adding a strange French cabaret flourish to her bohemian hippie bleating. What Bonnie Prince Billie and Joanna Newsom know, you, too, should try to take into your heart. Melanie communes with the spirits. The eagle and the albatross are her friends.

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