Les Triaboliques - rivermudtwilight
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Les Triaboliques
World Village (worldvillagemusic.com)

Les Triaboliques, aka British musicians Ben Mandelson, Justin Adams, and Lu Edmonds, gaze out of the darkness, unsmiling, on the cover of their esoterically titled CD, so one can assume that they're serious about what they do. Between the three of them, they play just about any plucked string instrument put in front of them. Their sound is so amorphous that it defies categorization, though it draws on American folk, jamband, African, Middle Eastern, Balkan, and New Age. On one track you're hearing Robert Plant in some latest incarnation (in fact, Adams has worked with Plant), on another Jerry Garcia and Sanjay Mishra, and on another the Black Keys on 'ludes. Indeed, this is music probably best listened to in a chemically altered state, so unfocused is it.

All three have solid chops on all their respective instruments and it all has a gently jangly, loose-limbed appeal. The same can't be said about the vocals, which are so weak as to be unnecessary. This would have been a pleasantly listenable work if not for the anemic singing. Their remake of "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" adds nothing that hasn't already been said far more brilliantly by the Animals and Nina Simone. So the message here is, if you have a way of isolating out the vocal tracks, fire one up, kick back, and enjoy the picking. It's what makes this strange trip worthwhile. - Peggy Latkovich

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