Whapweasel - Pack of Jokers
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cd cover Whapweasel
Pack of Jokers
Whapweasel Music (www.whapweasel.com)

Timing is everything. By all reports, Whapweasel is one of the hottest bands in the English ceildh scene, and there is little doubt that, after you've danced around your living room and inadvertently kicked your dog a couple of times to Pack of Jokers, you'll agree. Whapweasel are picking up where other English ceildh bands with an eye for world music influences (Tiger Moth, anyone?) left off.
What makes Whapweasel so special is a rock-solid rhythm section (Bob Wilson on drums, Brian Bell on bass) that anchors every tune to perfection and yet has a go-for-broke attitude in their attack. There's superb, sometimes searing guitar work from Rick Kemp and from Mike Coleman, who also contributes acoustic and electric cittern. Heather Bell provides more grounding on keyboards, as well as some undeniable sex appeal. Then, there is the unique addition of a joyous, soaring brass section featuring Fiona Littlewood and Stuart Finden. And, lest we forget the genre we are discussing, there is grand melodeon work by Robin Jowett.

On Pack of Jokers, Whapweasel perform all of their own compositions; there is not a single trad.arr to be found, and this is all to the good. Whapweasel simply let fly with a heady brew of global soup, sometimes sounding like a Latin party band, sometimes like a funky ska group, and sometimes like a lost African highlife band that stumbled into your country dance's beer tent. In the academic world, postmodernists will endlessly discuss the "glocal," the meeting of local, indigenous art forms with other influences from around the world. Whapweasel's sound is so infectious because their cultural collisions sound effortless, not like some lesson in irony for irony's sake.

With many of the male members of Whapweasel sporting black suits, black hats, and sunglasses, and with rubber chickens gracing the artwork of the CD, you'd be forgiven for thinking that Whapweasel are the ceildh world's own nutty version of Madness. Come to think of it, that's an enviable position to occupy, especially when Whapweasel create such delirious dance music. - Lee Blackstone

CD available from cdRoots

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