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Songs of the Turly Crio

Rating: 7/10 ?

February 13, 2006
Back in the day, when I was young and defenseless, had I limited myself to the folksy vision of Leonard Cohen, or even the Fairport Convention - great, juicy music, mind you - I'd be now pushing up daisies. It's obvious that a person's horizons will broaden as they obsessively dig deep into the underground, and sometimes it doesn't hurt to mine the good, sweet popular streams. From the dubious edges of dub music to the surrogated patterns of house and techno, whenever a person is ready to disobey the premises of their old vinyl records, there exists a brave new world of music to delve into.

Suffice to say, autochthons music is the best greeting card for a certain people or place. Over the course of less than a year, I had the chance to extract audio pleasure from two bands hailing from Israel - the first being Tel-Aviv-based Rendezvous, a beautiful jazz ensemble that merges tradition with some innovative, risky steps in improvisation, and the second discovery is, of course, the trio for which these lines are being written.

Goldoolins is a musical trinity made up of O.D. Goldbart, Tadlik Doolin, and E.T. Doolin. Tadlik and E.T. are a married couple, O.D. is a pal, and their J.K. Rowling-esque name is a result of the contraction of their last names: Goldbart + Doolin = Goldoolin. This trio's musical radar is capable of homing in on and incorporating major influences, both throughout the history of time and the spread of musical genres, two avenues that are not always dissociated from each other. Renaissance music comes to the fore as an immediate highlight, but the burlesque, baroque nuances also flow through songs like "The Man He Killed" or "Find Her", the latter deftly rubbing Cat Stevens' G-spot at times.

The dizzying, colorful encounter that is "Country Traveler" exposes Songs of the Turly Crio's folk roots, and it has everything to make most Americana troubadours blush. For me, it's like Joanna Newsom maintained an outer space chat with A Hawk and a Hacksaw, and decided to play a leading role in Emir Kusturica's next flick, "Country Traveler" being part of the resulting score.

The album's best cut is, however, the only song fully sung in Hebrew, "Sheva Shanim", which translates as "seven years". I have the feeling I would like these Songs of the Turly Crio better had the record been fully delivered in their native idiom. "Bed of Wood" and "Song For Dodo" are pale partners in crime when opposed to my aforementioned loved one.

Goldbart and the Doolinses play all the instruments presented on Turly Crio themselves, with the exception of a brass section, a cello and a flute. The array of audio postcards is discharged from acoustic and classical guitars (including a "hollow-body guitar"), a piano, a harpsichord, an accordion, and a kalimba and percussion, but also from a zither, a glockenspiel, a mouth harp, a mandola, and an upright bass. The trio possess an obvious musical dexterity, technically speaking, and the prowess of the primary players extends to the guest appearances in the record, from the cellist to the trombonist, the oboist, the trumpeter, and the violinist. All around, the playing on Songs of the Turly Crio is solid.

Since their formation in 2004, the Goldoolins have been invited to play at festivals, as well as folk clubs, radio shows, and coffee houses (the perfect place to really deflower their essence), and their performances have grown inside them this second egg, the follow-up to their eponymous debut. But it's not just about the music, it's also about the extreme care put into the artwork - the cover shows the band photographed next to some medieval ruins -, and the way syllables are expelled from their mouths. The album's title is also great but a little obvious, kind of reminding me of (Smog)'s Dongs of Sevotion.

Although the peaks are high for Goldoolins, there are low points on this otherwise stainless release, notably the poultry's lament that "Dusty" encloses: a drifting, saccharine-driven number that will erode the shiniest teeth on the planet; and, again, their tendency to write/sing in Shakespeare's mother tongue. Nevertheless, Songs of the Turly Crio is so challenging, and fulfills almost every parameter of my music's barometer, that I must start paying more attention to the Tel-Aviv connection, if there's any, and its geographical branches (the Goldoolins hail from a place called Rehovot).

Reviewed by Helder Gomes
Currently living on the south bank of the Tagus river, in Portugal, Helder Gomes is a working class hero. He is a journalist for the local radio station Rádio Nova Anten. In his spare time, he skates and watches many odd movies. He is in love with the French nouvelle vague, and the Danish/Swedish invasion. He writes for a number of publications, on the Internet or otherwise, notably the underground Portuguese magazine Mondo Bizarre, and the Jazz Review website. He is also the news collector and a staff witer for the adorable Lost at Sea. Oh, and there is also the Coffee Breakz radio show that he tries to host every Saturday.

See other reviews by Helder Gomes



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