Monday, May 17, 2021

Tav Falco and the Unapproachable Panther Burns - Conjurations: Seance For Deranged Lovers

 It's never a good bet to try to second guess Tav Falco. His influences are wide'n'varied and few of his records resemble each other, except for the esoteric presence of Mr. Falco. On this release, he gathers together a French-based band, adding piano, harpsicord, bandoneon (a concertina used in tangos) and cello to a selection of guitars and mostly minimal percussion. A good portion of the album is somewhat mellower than some Panther Burns releases, mostly due to lack of percussion, or the drums being mixed down to a quiet level, but there are a few raucous, blues-based tunes to keep you guessing throughout!

The proceedings begin with the downright pretty, keyboard-laced "Ballad of the Rue de la Lune", showing Falco's romantic side, and from there we move into the slinky, noisy, slide-blues tale of a double agent in "Sympathy For Mata Hari" followed by another lovely, quiet ballad, "Chamber of Desire", highlighted by Tav's poetic lyrics, then you are literally jarred out of your reverie by the wild, Elmore James-like "Administrator Blues", kind of an update on "Bourgeois Blues". We all know that Tav loves a good tango, so he then provides the ominous "Tango Fatale", we get a minor-key trip on the Orient Express Railroad chugging through "Budapest", a "Secret Rendezvous" that barely disguises the true face of a tango, the "Garden of Medicis" moves from a revolving blues-riff to a calliope-like interlude and back again, the "Lady From Shanghai" is another seductive femme fatale who moves about on her tip-toes, sneaking through this film noir, while the devilish epic "Gentleman in Black" creates more olden-day blues, perhaps the most evocative of the original Panther Burns. There's a Johnny Cash-like country blues in "Phantome Demoiselle" and the finale is a simple, yet unusual, minor-key melodic ballad that is essentially the title track, "Conjuration of Masques".

The dramatic liner notes gives a glimpse into the mind of the unapproachable, furnishing a bit more of the storyline and the influences, from film to books to the city itself. Tav's unique presentation is always stamped on any Panther Burns release and here he proffers a number of characters for your entertainment. There is nothing like the Panther Burns and every offering belongs in your collection!