Review: Carolina Chocolate Drops/Luminescent Orchestrii
|Carolina Chocolate Drops|
The Lumiis get the spotlight in the album’s second track, “Escoutas (Diga Diga Diga.)” Opening with a fiddle riff somewhere between Appalachia and Romania, the song soon dives into chanted lyrics in a language I’m embarrassed to say I cannot pinpoint, even with a half-hearted google search. Throughout the verses, competing licks from resonator guitar and banjo keep the rollicking stomp moving forward before the fiddle jumps back in on a chorus that builds to boisterous musical shouts. I have no idea what the song is about but given the aura of celebratory conviction, I’m in 100% agreement nonetheless.
The Chocolate Drops won legions of fans with their stringband adaptation of Blu Cantrell’s 90’s R&B chart topper, “Hit ‘Em Up Style” on their latest album, Genuine Negro Jig. It also showcased the band’s restless spirit and desire to move the music they love in new directions. With the tune’s reworking on this album, Luminescent Orchestrii help blaze the trail a little further still. This version has a slightly darker feel with the inclusion of Eastern European flavors, especially in some of the melancholy, lilting fiddle lines.
The final track, “Knockin’” is a sultry tune that teases its melodies forward with the patience of a knowing seductress. The gloriously indulgent vocal glissandos somehow manage to make refrigerated chicken and leftover wine sound erotic as all hell. The bridge provides a delicious release of urgent fiddle riffs, much like an overheated bystander swiping a handkerchief at his brow during an arousing burlesque performance. The song proves that double entendres and subtler expressions of carnal desire are infinitely sexier than the boringly explicit booty tunes so prevalent in contemporary pop music. This is certainly no pop album, despite the fact it deserves widespread acclaim.
More than anything, this collaboration is a tribute to the power of music to bring people together. This is social music, made for backyard barbecues in the country, rooftop romps in the city, and block parties the world over. No matter the locale, put on this disc and folk will be dancing, laughing, and, if they're lucky, maybe even sharing some chicken and wine later in the night.
Carolina Chocolate Drops/Luminescent Orchestrii will be released by Nonesuch Records on January 25th. You can purchase a copy and preview the songs here.
________________________Dustin Ogdin is a freelance writer and journalist based in Nashville, TN. His work has been featured by MTV News, the Associated Press, and various other stops in the vast environs of the world wide web. His personal blog and home base is Ear•Tyme Music. Click below to read more and network with Dustin.
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