Beat Circus - These Wicked Things - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Beat Circus - These Wicked Things

by Ljubinko Zivkovic Rating:8 Release Date:2019-03-22
Beat Circus - These Wicked Things
Beat Circus - These Wicked Things

Brian Carpenter has certainly been around the musical block. Maybe you are not familiar with this Beat Circus incarnation of his or some of the other projects connected to his name, but you might have caught him if you probably listened to the likes of Swans, Kronos Quartet, Colin Stetson or Marc Ribot.

That is probably the reason the list of collaborators on These Wicked Things, his latest project is not exactly brief and includes members of disparate bands, from Thalia Zedek to Calexico. Actually, These Wicked Things, is the third part of Carpenter’s musical trilogy titled “Weird American Gothic”. This installment is based on a true crime book and a play “The Barbary Coast” that speaks about the role of crime, violence and real-life Zorro character during the rise of San Francisco in the late Nineteenth Century.

If it sounds like a perfect setting for a spaghetti western themes and Mexican musical tinges, that is exactly what Carpenter went for here, like on “Just A Lost Lost Dream”, but he often gives it that additional left of center tinge he has musical connections to, like on “Murieta’s Last Ride” or “Crow Killer”. It actually works really well, particularly on the half-spoken piece “Gone, Gone, Gone” or the straight-on south of the border sound of “Rosita (Tango)” or the straight country sound of “The Key”.

Part of the success of the concept lies with the excellent choice of collaborators (guitarist Andrew Stern particularly shines), Giant Sand, Calexico and Neko Case producer Craig Schumacher, but the biggest chunk of those parts go to Carpenter himself, his concept deadpan vocals and all those instrumental embellishments he put in himself.

To add to the experience, Carpenter has added a graphic novelette by Croatian artist Daniel Zezelj, quite a thing to look at by itself. I haven’t had a chance to hear the first two installments in Carpenter’s trilogy, but These Wicked Things will force me to check them out.

Comments (0)

There are no comments posted here yet