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Curse in the Woods – The Deals They Made – Album Review

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The Deals They Made

The Deals They Made

TOTAL SCORE: 7.6/10

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Style:Cabaret /Dark Cabaret
Released
: 15 June 2012
Produced by:
Sam Harvey
Mixed by:
Joël Grelier
Recorded at
: Studio Victor, Montreal

Described as “cabaret/dark cabaret”, The Deals They Made is the first full length album by Montreal’s Curse in the Woods. The album is rich in imagery and descriptive lyrics, interlaced with a symphony’s worth of instruments. The music might not be the type that you would hear regularly played on the radio, but honestly a lack of play on popular radio stations would preserve the ingenuity found within these songs.

Upon first hearing the album the listener is thrown into a world filled with burlesque dancers, carnival acts and imagery reminiscent of a Baz Lurhmann film. You could almost picture yourself walking through the streets of Montemarte, Paris, at dusk when all of the night owls come out to play.

Vocalist Jeannie Taylor has a quality of sound that I can’t help but describe as a Zooey Deschanel/Amy Winehouse/Tori Amos/Norah Jones mash-up. It’s melancholic and smooth with a hint of jazz. Her voice acts as the perfect topper to the incredible sounds created by Sam Harvey, François Girouard, Guillaume Garant-Rousseau and François Landry with their multitude of instruments (I particularly like the use of piano and brass throughout the album).

Some of the songs contain lyrics that are so descriptive that you can imagine a literal translation of the lines into dramatic scenes: Perfect Lawns could be used to set a burlesque show; with its Spanish tango overtone, Rain Is On Its Way makes me feel like I’m stuck in scene from a Hemingway novel set during his Pamplona days; Chevrons can be turned into a silent film with the song acting as the perfect backing soundtrack. Not only does the album confirm the band’s ability as musicians, but it also shows their skills as storytellers.

For those who thought cabaret was dead, this band can help revive the genre. Call me bold, but I could definitely see Curse in the Woods being called the Arcade Fire of modern cabaret. It might not appeal to everyone as it’s not typical of the music most often heard amongst today’s genres, but that could create a fan base of people who truly appreciate the musicianship, creativity and broad scope of talent found within this band.

 

Recommended Songs:

Track 1: Perfect Lawns — Spunky lyrics with a great burlesque/vaudville feel 9/10

Track 11: Wise Up — Somewhat jazzy with a Norah Jones/ Amy Winehouse vibe, my favourite song on the album, I really like the use of doo wop, strings, piano, and brass 10/10

 

The Good — there’s such a wide variety of sound to the songs on the album that you’re always pleasantly surprised whenever the next track begins to play

The Bad — sometimes the lyrics can be a little odd, which might put some people off

The Ugly — although I listed it is a positive trait above, the only bad thing about the genre is that it might not appeal to everyone in today’s market, which could lead to a lack of commercial success (which is “ugly” if you’re trying to make your craft your living)

 

Curse in the Woods are:
Sam Harvey — Piano / Accordion / Keyboards / Acoustic Guitar / Slide Guitar

Jeannie Taylor — Vocals

François Girouard — Drums / Musical Saw / Banjo / Percussions / Soundscapes

Guillaume Garant-Rousseau — Tuba / Bass / Trumpet

François Landry — Alto Violin / Electric Guitar

 

Learn more about Curse in the Woods.

Check out Curse in the Woods on Facebook.

 
THE SCENE

 

The Scene