Sequoyah Tiger - Parabolabandit

by Mark Moody Rating:7 Release Date:2017-10-27
Sequoyah Tiger - Parabolabandit
Sequoyah Tiger - Parabolabandit

Sequoyah Tiger’s debut album Parabolabandit has to be one of the strangest things I’ve listened to in some time.  The band is basically the alter ego of Leila Gharib who hails, presumably, from Verona, Italy, but it’s hard to be convinced she’s from a particular place or time.  She's a bit of a shapeshifter and blends styles and melodies from different eras keeping everything off kilter.  If you didn’t know this was recently recorded, it would be hard to pin  a timetable down as to when it was.  It’s electronic based music, but could have been captured anytime since Edison invented sound recordings.  On several of the songs, it’s as if Edith Piaf time traveled to hang out with M.I.A. for a bit, stopped off at the dawn of MTV on her way back, and then set up shop in a cabaret after World War II.  If that seems like a perfectly normal flow of events this should appeal to you.   Regardless it is worthwhile due to Gharib pursuing her own path and composing some memorable melodies along the way.  Maybe this is standard Veronese club music these days, but I’m going to guess not.  Overall it’s an oddly effective, yet effectively odd affair.

Thematically, there is a heavy focus on place with song titles like “Another World Around Me”, “Where Am I?”, and “A Place Where People Disappear”, that may lend some credence to the time travel theory.  The latter song is one of the most “up to date” given the more intense and layered, chopped-up polyrhythms.  It is also one of the more fully developed tracks, along with “Brother/Brother”, which you could see played in a club today without being too out of place.  “Another World”, with its shimmery synths and echoey vocals, evokes the warped sense of styles being blended together.  “Where Am I?” with its liquid yet choppy cadence, as incongruous as that sounds, provides the answer to the title’s question being “somewhere between the A and B”.  That’s about as direct an answer as you’re going to get from Gharib.  

The single, “Punta Otok” with it’s sing song lyrics, elevating synth riff, and looped woodblock rhythm, has a very old school feel.  The song’s video looks like it was recorded at the dawn of the handy-cam era, with Gharib wearing the stitched together outfit from the album’s cover.  The cover art, by the way, with it’s overlapped colored marker effects has a certain quaintness to it as well and reminds me of the folk art drawings of Willie White.  Though you hate to be guilty of this, the cover art first drew me to the album (along with the oddly spelled band name) and it’s another of the overall set of likable oddities on display here.

The tracks that take the listener the furthest back with their simple, but melancholy melodies, include “Sissi”, “Cassius”, and “Brilliant One”.  In particular, “Sissi” sounds like it was ripped from a 1950’s movie soundtrack.  The melody recalls “Those Were The Days” from Innocents in Paris and you can see the patrons at the tavern in a post-war haze, shoulder to shoulder, clinking glasses as they sing along to “far away from here, but also very near, there’s a place where we must go, where things move very slow”.

If you are looking for something different, or are interested to see what’s going on with the music scene in Verona these days, Parabolabandit is definitely worthwhile.  Gharib’s unusual approach to stitching things together, just like her retro jacket, will sound both familiar somehow and also fully of its own design.  She’s doing her own thing without regard for being current and that’s worth a toast in and of itself. 

 

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