MUSIC REVIEWS: Emiliana Torrini and CAN

Emiliana Torrini
Me and Armini
(Rough Trade)

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Me and Armini is indie folk singer/songwriter Emiliana Torrini’s third album. The Icelandic Italian’s work has been featured on Grey’s Anatomy and on the ending credits for The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers. Additionally, she has written two #1 hits for Kylie Minogue. Dan Carey (Hot Chip and Franz Ferdinand) was tapped to produce the album. Emiliana’s raspy vocals pulsate in “Jungle Drum,” and melt together with acoustic guitar in the sublime song “Birds.” I’ve only previously known Emiliani Torrinni through her song, “Sunny Road,” which I still love today, and appeared on her 2005 album, Fisherman’s Woman. Her latest effort is pleasing but does little to warrant replays, and seems to fit more as background music at a coffee shop. Along with the songs “Birds” and “Jungle Drum,” two other noteworthy songs are the title track and “Big Jumps.” Overall, this Icelandic Italian’s third album appears to appease most of her loyal fan base, but lacks some pop punch.

Paul Kim

Anthology [Remastered Edition]

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Pioneers of ambient fun-house rock, Deutschland’s Can rivals Frank Zappa for sheer lunacy and the Barrett-run Pink Floyd for experimental chutzpah. When Can opened up, they could sound amateurish, unrehearsed or lost in a jam, which they usually were. But as Mute’s 2CD, 29-cut Anthology illustrates, they were seldom boring. The early songs highlight Can’s lysergic, sound effects-laden ramblings, such as “Soup,” which employs a filling-rattling skill saw; the Clash-like “Outside My Door,” and the cosmic Papa John Creach violin bowing in “Dizzy Dizzy.” You might get impatient when the group marinates in a groove – the primeval T-Rex thumping of “You Doo Right” runs a staggering 20 minutes, and the group’s brown acid vocals make them sound like candidates for Bellevue, but Can thrives on variety, so each cut has it’s own distinct schizophrenic personality. Disc 2 includes the more cohesive contributions of ex-Traffic bassist Roscoe Gee and uber-percussionist Reebop Kwaku Baah. The songs blend Third World influences (“Half Past One”), lazy blues (“Blue Bag”), and kooky Bonzo Dog Band takeoffs (“Mother McDuff”). Perplexing, complicated and simplistic, Can Anthology will not only test your musical boundaries, it may playfully try your sanity as well.

Michael Jefferson

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