MUSIC REVIEWS: I’m From Barcelona and Civet

I’m From Barcelona
Who Killed Harry Houdini

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I’m a big fan of one-man led bands, like Trent and NIN, or Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys. I’m From Barcelona, is one such ‘band,’ led by the talented songwriter Emanuel Lundgren. Their new CD, Who Killed Harry Houdini features 11 songs that Lundgren created to be as mysterious and surprising as the master magician.

From the first song “Andy” I felt I was in Roxy Music territory, mixed with a little Sisters of Mercy (how’s that for a combination?). The jaunty “Paper Planes” (the first single off the CD) introduces some big bright poppy horns and a glockenspiel is thrown into the mix of “Headphones.” “Gunhild,” may be the most listenable tune here (if not the most commercial) featuring French singer Soko, “Mingus” moves along with hand claps and poppy backing vocals and “Houdini”-not one of the best tunes here-is still a welcome change with the band movin’ and grooving.’ “Rufus” ends the collection and even with its tempo and style changes, it really is the most straight-ahead ‘rocker’ here (with some really inspired electric guitar playing)…the last pretty minute of the song reminds me something off of Lou Reed’s Berlin. Lundgren and his fellow musicians (there are 20 or so players in Barcelona) bring so much to the table (lots of rich backing vocals too) that all the tunes are layered yet simple (no easy feat).

One of the things I like best about the entire I’m From Barcelona experience (at least on this CD) is how Lundgren never overstays his welcome. He makes fast proficient work of his ideas and translates them through a crowd of musicians (he co-produced Houdini). I love I’m From Barcelona’s Who Killed Harry Houdini.

Ralph Greco, Jr.

Hell Hath No Fury
(Hellcat Records)

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If you thought a civet was just a tiny cat-like animal from the African jungles, you may want to think again before a group of tattooed girls from LA knocks you out. Combining the sexiness of Brody Dalle and the aggressiveness of the ’90s Riot Grrrl movement, Civet’s Hell Hath No Fury rightfully leads the new “femme fatale punk rock” genre.

“It makes me sick to death, Gunna put a bullet to her head,” roars the crimson-haired Liza Graves in “Do a Line (of Alibis)” where a quartet of angry banshees tells the story of a vengeful lover. The theme may seem as old as their album title, but “Son of a Bitch,” will definitely get the ladies raising their fists. With Danni Harrowyn’s violent drumming and Suzi Homewrecker’s rage-filled riffs, Graves’ frustration of falling for the wrong man is immediately felt. “Gin n Tonic” fires away with Jacqui Valentine’s bass, building to the breaking point of a woman who, after too many drinks, finally realizes that she’s better off alone. The beat is ferocious, catchy, and guarantees a release from memories of past heartbreakers with screeching, whisky burned vocals.

Lyrics of a woman scorned are not unique, but we finally have some vixens that can rock out better than the boys and kick some ass with real girl power.

Download – Civet – Son of a Bitch.mp3

Stephanie Nolasco

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