Album- "A Seed Catalog For Extinct Annuals"

by the Deadfly Ensemble

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Midnight Calling (USA)
Review by Aiden

"Fine debuts are normally hard to follow, but with Lucas Lanthier and associates I knew this would not be a concern. Yet even I was taken aback by the sheer excellence of this release. To be sure, “A Seed Catalog for Extinct Annuals” follows in the footsteps of “An Entire Wardrobe…”, but takes an unexpected, meandering musical course that sometimes runs parallel to their earlier endeavor, and sometimes wanders off to the fringes of their haunted, neo-Victorian world to explore ominous shores filled with foreboding portents, before turning to flee back to more familiar confines, but only momentarily before dashing into the shadows again.The apocalyptic instrumental “Intro”, aptly sets the stage. After a distant, operatic opening, the melody of “Polymelia and the Satyr” proves deceptively simple, like a dark nursery rhyme that proves addictive, staying in your head longer than the latest television jingle. Marzia’s cello provides a superb melancholic counterpoint. The compelling arrangements of “Revenge on the Nursemaid” also stay with the listener long afterwards, with staccato percussion and flowing cello anchoring Lucas’s somehow disquieting vocals. “Meaty Bones and Porridge” has a bit of a rollick, opening with a nearly martial percussion. Lucas growls along with Marzia’s cello which rises and ebbs between the driving bass and guitar. “The Adventures of Jonas Mauken” is one of my favorites, a dark nautical tale featuring haunting piano and eerie vocals, which evokes visions of cobwebbed tintypes and long-forgotten waltzes. “Dirty Weather” is simply masterful. Another haunting tale of the sea, with a rather catchy refrain, belied by the poignant and reflective ending. “Queen Maude’s Pirates” continues the seafaring theme, with a great moody bass line that alternates with up-tempo stanzas before a rather chilling end. The superb guitar in “Ursusarktos the Bachelor” hints of the Spanish Renaissance, with languid vocals and cello underlaid by muted bass. “Dishonest Corset”, another favorite of mine, begins with eerie vocals and cello before launching into fierce guitar and bass. A touch of gypsy strings and lends an exotic air, while the steady percussion pushes the song to an abrupt ending. “Tiny Little Things” begins rather morbidly. Military percussion and solemn piano ensue, joined by strange, otherworldly vocal effects. Dirge like bass and guitar complete this funereal vignette, which dramatically creates a mounting sense of unease and suspense. “Lecture: The Pre-Decimalization Monetary System of Great Britain” is a strange documentary with a soundtrack of whistling that should be annoying, but somehow isn’t. It is actually quite interesting, and I learned the exact value of a Groat! Throughout the CD, the overall consonance of the instruments and vocals is remarkable. Lucas’s lyrics are a study unto themselves. His unconventional storytelling style is quite effective. Like classic fairytales, they conceal quite profound concepts beneath a seemingly simplistic storyline. (As a Children’s Librarian with over a decade of experience, I feel qualified to make that assessment!) The atmosphere of “A Seed Catalog for Extinct Annuals” is thoroughly macabre, though in an understated sort of way that only increases the effect. Shades of Baudelaire and Poe ramble through this theater of dark imagination, superbly crafted by The Deadfly Ensemble. The Deadfly Ensemble is one of the most innovative bands in today’s music scene, and both their releases are indispensable for the music connoisseur."


Sonic Seducer (Germany)
Review by Thomas Thyssen

"Lucas Lanthier ist einzigartig. Bereits mit seiner Band Cinema Strange sprengte er im Laufe von drei Alben alle möglichen Genregrenzen. Doch dies scheint dem sympathischen Neu-New Yorker nicht zu genügen, denn mit seinem Soloprojekt The Deadfly Ensemble war Luc seit geraumer Zeit aktiver und präsenter als gemeinsam mit seinen beiden alten Weggefährten, den Ribiat-Brüdern. Rechtzeitig zur Tour mit Emilie Autumn erschien nun das zweite Deadfly-Album „A Seed Catalog For Extinct Annuals“, welches schon auf den ersten Blick mit einem wunderschönen und opulent gestalteten Artwork aufwarten kann. Musikalisch bleibt Lanthier unberechenbar wie eh und je. Lucas erzählt wundervolle Geschichten, seufzt und jubelt, berichtet und umschreibt. Kleine Mädchen würden jemanden wie Lucas als Märchenonkel schätzen, da er nicht nur ein großartiger Erzähler ist, sondern sich auch noch lustige Kleider anzieht. „A Seed Catalog For Extinct Annuals“ ist keine einfache Kost für diejenigen, die 4/4-Stakkatobeats gewohnt sind, die musikalische Qualität anhand der BPM-Zahl messen und die sich keine Ruhe gönnen, um auch mal aufmerksam zuzuhören. Wenn man letzteres mitbringt, kann man in die Musik des Deadfly Ensembles eintauchen, sich darin verlieren und eventuell sogar ein klein wenig den absurd-kuriosen Kosmos Lanthiers verstehen lernen. Wundervolles Kino für das anspruchsvolle Gehör."

credits

released January 1, 2008

produced by Bonzo von Ecke and Lucas Lanthier

recorded at Armada Haus in Ventura, California, Papineau Clown College in Montreal, Quebec, Rupert Kessler's Mobile Sound Assault in Camarillo/LA, California and Christian's house, Montreal, Quebec

engineered by von Ecke, Lanthier, James Rupert Kessler Powell, and Christian Norton

mastered by Vincent Sorg, Principal Studios, Berlin, Germany

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