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Aficionado: Circus Music

One of the more interesting subplots in modern music is the recent development of the indie rock orchestra. Bands like The Arcade Fire, I am From Barcelona, Broken Social Scene, and The Polyphonic Spree are showing a new generation the joys of 9 piece bands with flutes. (On second thought, has any generation enjoyed nine piece bands with flutes?) With band size that at least doubles the conventional 4-piece lineup that alt rock has carried through since The Stooges, it would not be surprising to hear that those bands looked to the giants of 70's prog to get an idea of just how this kind of thing works out on stage. One band who is looking at Yes and Jethro Tull less for stage setup and more for sound itself is the ten-member Aficionado, an Albany chamber pop ensemble who have recently released their first full length Circus Music.

Singer Nick Warchol makes it clear that this is no ordinary listening experience with his first words on the record- "I welcome you all to the circus I call my life". Pretentious? Yes. Cheesy? Possibly. But after a few minutes you realize that there's no more appropriate way to introduce this album. Over a simple electric piano skeleton, the flutes, horns, and guitars dive and rise like little gremlins of sound. And it only gets better! "Magnified" sounds like if Dashboard Confessional's Chris Carabba got bored with his acoustic guitar and recorded a mashup with Jethro Tull's "Conundrum". "More Like a Machine" sounds like a more well-adjusted Mr. Bungle, complete with an avant-rock introduction that walks on the line between tight and dissonant. The lyrics are as joyfully chaotic as the music, which might be a turnoff for those listeners preferring realism, earnestness, and timeliness, but we all need a vacation sometime. It must be tough for ten musicians to live on an opening band's wages; hopefully an album as exciting as this will do their career good.

Track Listing
1. March of Welcome
2. Magnified
3. The Cellar
4. Said the Elephant to the Snake
5. Search for Shelter
6. Deaf Ears
7. –Intermission-
8. Breathing Fire
9. More Like A Machine
10. For those Who Fear Death
11. Desolate Times
12. Preservation
13. All the Wrong Places
14. Triumphant

Added: September 15th 2008
Reviewer: Robert Short
Related Link: Band's MySpace Page
Hits: 2231
Language: english

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