Songs For Corporations Volume 1

You say you're looking for some new music? Something that incorporates dance house, classical, rock, and sixties film music? That's a pretty tall order, except that the brothers drab have just released Headmint: Music For Corporations Volume 1. Consisting of Lindsay Jamieson of Departure Lounge and John Painter, one half of the amazing duo Fleming & John, the brothers drab play nearly every instrument on the disc, and between the two of them, they can play nearly every instrument in western music, plus a few outside western familiarity.

The album opens with "Le monde au balcon", a 3/4 piece played on accordion that is at once melancholic and nostalgic. But this bit of eerie carnival music is short and leaves the listener wanting more. "Paris" soon follows with it's swanky horns and sixties cinema vocals of "lah de dah de dah." If you're into lyrics, pass this one up because all of the tracks except one are instrumentals, not that there's anything wrong with that! Weaving a tapestry of a mysterious Arabian night, "Madagascar" adds a hip swing feel to a lilting violin and analog synth melody. "Number 6" takes a simple piano melody and backs it with pizzicato and glissando violin parts, slowly developing each as the melody mingles with each instrument. The effect is absolutely mesmerizing and definitely keeps your attention for the full seven minutes. Other tracks include Hawaiian guitar, the Theramin, electric drums, and eastern instruments. The title track includes some brief lyrics, sung by the astounding vocal cords of Fleming McWilliams (the other half of Fleming & John) and a great whistling ditty that evokes images of an easy summer stroll through the park. The final track, "Viennese Water Torture" picks up the haunting melody presented in the opening piece, although this time on a slightly detuned piano. Gruff violins are soon added to the mix, as are floating background vocals that give the piece a very Danny Elfman/Edward Scissorhands feel before ending quietly with the rhythm again played by solo accordion. Despite the name, the music is free from corporate intervention and as such, is only available as an independent release at www.flemingandjohn.com.

This review first appeared in WhatzUp, October 2000.