SCHOLARS AND ROGUES
TunesDay: The Lost Patrol’s
October 21, 2008
Here’s how the blurb at CD Baby puts it:
Cinematic ethereal, spaghetti western flavored retro-futuristic music
with powerful female vocals. A sweeping, cinematic, wide-screen journey
that combines ethereal sound scapes with surf-tinged guitar. Perfect for
those late night rides across the desert with the top down.
Uniquely original retro-futurism.
Yeah, that’s fair. But there’s a lot more to say
about The Lost Patrol and their new CD, Midnight Matinee, which has quickly
vaulted onto my list of likely 2008 platinum awards.
In this past week’s ArtSunday,
I noted the TLP’s vast array of influences. Today I’d like
to talk a little more about the music and the band, and in the process,
hopefully I can convince you to wander over to their MySpace page and
give them a listen.
I think I’m taken with TLP because I’m always looking
for the next great new sound. Of course, there probably aren’t any
truly new sounds to be had, and if there were it might not be something
that would actually bear listening. So what I mean is that I’m always
listening for people who have found ways of taking the sounds that have
gone before, assimilating and synthesizing them, and producing something
that recalls the influence without imitating it. This is what all great
art does, ultimately - it stands on the shoulders of the giants who came
Steve Masucci, the genius behind it all, has clearly internalized
the essence of a legion of great artists: Ennio Morricone, John Barry,
Johnny Cash, The Cramps, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Ventures, The
Stranglers, Phil Spector, Julee Cruise, Cocteau Twins, Jesus and Mary
Chain, Gary Numan, The Church, The Damned, The Chameleons, Dusty Springfield,
The Cure, V.A.S.T., The Nightblooms, The Cult, The Beach Boys, Jerry Murad’s
Harmonicats, A Flock of Seagulls, Dead Can Dance, Smashing Pumpkins, Sisters
of Mercy, The Shadows, Al Caiola, Jack Nitzsche, Herb Alpert & The
Tijuana Brass, The Verve, Jean Michel Jarre, Duane Eddy, Andy Williams,
Angelo Badalamenti, Allison Krause & Union Station, Mazzy Star, Tarnation,
The Catherine Wheel, The Sundays, Sigur Rós, Echo and The Bunnymen,
Medieval Baebes, Aimee Mann, Miranda Sex Garden, The Shaggs, Joanna Newsom,
Goldfrapp, X, Kate Bush, Lovespirals, Abby Travis, Curve.
Still, being able to imagine this in my head doesn’t help
me label it for you. In truth, I have a hard time pegging what genre,
exactly, the band is working. Its aching, cinematic beauty, bespeaking
a loneliness bigger than the Wyoming sky at dusk, argues for a spot on
the fringes of Goth. The reverberating twang of Masucci’s guitars
reminds me not of Country, but of traditonal Western (and here feel free
to think about a more lyrically melodic counterpoint to Munly or Slim
Cessna). While it’s not industrial by any stretch, it’s right
at home on a playlist with bands like Fiction 8 and The Birthday Massacre.
Fans of DreamPop and Shoegazer bands will have no problem at all slotting
it alongside Lush, Catherine Wheel, the late great Space Team Electra,
early Verve, or even Asobi Seksu, Blonde Redhead, Jets Overhead, LoveLikeFire,
The Raveonettes and Slowdive. And I think somebody needs to put “Blue
Lullabies” in the soundtrack of a surfing flick.
All of which, I guess, makes it “indie.”
The accomplishment of Midnight Matinee is even greater when we
realize that shortly after last year’s spectacular Launch and Landing
was released, singer Danielle Kimak Strauss left the band. Danielle was
born to sing Masucci’s songs, and I wasn’t terribly optimistic
about their ability to replace her. But Mollie Israel has stepped in nicely,
to say the least. The two women are similar vocalists in a lot of ways,
but I’ve decided that Israel projects a slightly airier quality
than did Strauss, whose approach was perhaps a tad more … resonant?
It took me a couple of spins to adjust, but in the end I think they’ve
replaced a fantastic singer without missing a beat.
Which makes me wonder how incredible Israel will be once she’s
had a couple years to really own her new place at the mic.
You’ve probably figured out by now that Midnight Matinee
comes with a big thumbs up. You can sample (and buy) the entire CD at
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