(Released August 2006)
Possibly my most disappointing speculative purchase ever, this is the second stop in my journey through the younger generation of artists who appear to be involved with the Trot revival. As with my first encounter, I can’t make the connection between what I’m hearing and what I’m told Trot is all about. At least with SuJu-T’s dreadful single there was something concrete to react against. This album is peculiarly characterless. The music style is more south or south-east Mediterranean than anything else, although the instrumentation in most of the numbers is so synthetic that it’s difficult to locate anywhere.
Possibly the most distinctive track is the third, which opens with a nod to Enrico Morricone’s soaring film scores, and settles down into a ballad. Not unpleasant until the harmony starts: the vocalist providing the harmony has the fuzzy, undeveloped sound of a 15-year-old whose voice has just broken, and he really struggles to hit the notes.
Other tracks blend into each other, with relentlessly jolly synthetic drum beats punctuated with brass interjections trying to give a flavour of a Spanish fiesta, or a unison string section pulling the sound towards the Middle East.
The title track recalls some of the livelier Gypsy Kings songs (though without the energetic sparkle of the latter’s steel-stringed acoustic guitars) – until the unwelcome intrusions of a minor-key quote from Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik. As if once is not enough, the track gets two further outings at the end of the CD, and you reach for the STOP button to prevent further torture from this inane collection.
- Buy Gondre Mandre at YesAsia