Rasputina, Mr. Bungle
Steampunk, a genre characterized as "eclectic" featuring influences of synth-pop, dark wave, gothic and new wave. After sampling a dozen or so bands labeled under this genre, one band rose to the surface and peaked our interest. A few rotations in, The Violet Tribe's "Grand Hotel", went from bizarro and uncomfortable to a sensible piece of work. And a few more listens in, it moved to a full-bodied work that we can almost categorize as a score or vision taking the listener into this strange new realm.
Difficult to sum up in a few words, but we will give it a shot. How about, blissful medieval dark pensive oriental/german blended gypsy dance pop emotronica so you can rest medicine. Ok... we know 'emotronica' is not a word, but that is what Grand Hotel does, it is so damn original it almost drives you a little batty. We can almost equate it to when we first heard, Mr. Bungle's first album. How that album painted scenes that you would conjure up as you absorbed the onslaught of sound.
The first few tracks off of Grand Hotel are a blend of mid-eastern meets germanic flare with a hint of goth and as the album progresses it really develops into a very medieval enchanted sojourn. Difficult to pick a favorite off this album at it really needs to be listened to in its entirety. The Violet Tribe's female musicianship is quite impressive and insanely diverse. A unique array of uncommon medieval instruments (tin organ, harp,synth snare, bongos, etc.) along with vibrant and opulent fantasy vocals.
We will keep our eyes out to see if these fine ladies make an appearance to the states. If you want diversity, to be put in another mood, to be given strange looks, enter the Grand Hotel... you may get lost in its chaos and beauty, but will have a heck of a blast finding your way back.
Standout Tracks: Must be listened to in its entirety.