Genre/Influences: Electro-Pop, Cinematic-Pop, Dark-Pop.
Format: Digital, CD.
Background/Info: Hungarian duo Emese Arvai-Illes – Krisztian Arvai strike back with a very special opus. The band name has been adapted into BlackNail Cabaret because of the addition of extra-members and friends Tamás Számvéber (guitar), Márton Barják (saxophone) and Péter Laskay (drums). Black Nail Cabaret has been active for fifteen years and previously released five albums. “Woodland Memoirs” is an adaptation of eleven songs taken from these full lengths.
Content: The sound and songs remain recognizable although totally different. The saxophone play injects something unique, creating a dark and sometimes jazzy atmosphere which would perfectly fit to a ‘film noir’. Some songs even become darker and rawer with Emese’s sensual, and commanding, timbre of voice on top. It’s an opportunity to re-discover Black Nail Cabaret ‘classics’ but in a very different style.
+ + + : This album took me by surprise and it really sounds like a true tour de force but also a challenge to rework your very own songs this way. More original than asking other artists for remixes and definitely more demanding in terms of time this album reveals another side of the band. The saxophone creates a very own spirit which is recovering the work from start till end. It’s a styled production with a very intimate feeling. I like darker passages and especially “Dora” sounds sublime. There’s also something to say about “No Gold” featuring a perfect balance between all instruments. “Sister Sister” appears to be the ultimate cut to get featured for a ‘film noir’. Black Nail Cabaret is doing their very own thing while on top of the creative process there still is this very singular voice of dark-diva Emese.
– – – : I’m sometimes missing the ‘alternative’ touch of the original songs and I definitely prefer the original versions but Black Nail Cabaret has done something special.
Conclusion: Black Nail Cabaret remains a very single formation in a genre which is hardly comparable to established standards; call it ‘free-pop’.
Best songs: “Dora”, “No Gold”, “Sister Sister”, “My Casual God”, “Rhythm X”.
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