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Stanley Brinks and the KaniksStanley Brinks and the Kaniks
Album: Turtle Dove
Label: Fika
Tracks: 12

Also sometimes known as Herman Dune, Paris-born Brinks, now resident in Berlin, has joined forces with the Norwegian folk collective for an album that embraces both his love of calypso and, by way of complete musical contrast, numbers that summon up thoughts of Jewish or Balkan funeral dirges.

Recorded on a remote island off the coast of south west Norway, it opens with the title track, a short moody instrumental featuring double bass and mandolin that, by way of another comparison, conjures up a lament being played out on a lonely Greek hilltop. The mood instantly transforms with "Say Goodbye", trombones and mandolins dancing drunkenly through an uptempo shuffle about dancing, love and having a good time, with Brinks' delivery and vocal conjuring a calypso Jonathan Richman. Though a little more lyrically sober, the mood continues through "I Spread My Wings", trombone, double bass and fiddle adopting vague mazurka feel before it's back to carnival calypso (and yet more references to turtle doves) on "One More Day", its romantic mien buoyed up by a banjo solo.

Underscoring his eclecticism, "This World" ropes in the melody of "Scarborough Fair" and gives it a lurching Balkan makeover on a song that, not unusually in his oeuvre, celebrates the pleasures of alcohol. An Eastern European air also hangs over both the slow mazurka-like "Day In Day Out" with its parping trombone and the funereal paced trombone and droning fiddle led instrumental "Slow Peace". The mood needs lightening after this, "Come Come Springtime" (and yet more encouragements to drinking) rising to the occasion on the back of sprightly banjo and a rousing Nordic pub chorus. Then it's back to a lurching klezmer rhythm and swayalong chorus on "Between Me and the Future" before reaching for the bottle again on "Stronger Than Wine", a number that splices calypso and bluegrass flavours in an intoxicating cocktail with a heady refrain that wouldn't be out of place on a Mighty Sparrow classic. Mind you, they seem to have imbibed rather too much as this is followed by the slow and sparse mournful fiddle -accompanied "Zombie Taboo", a hangover nightmare of an American village being plagued by a zombie, though even here Brinks wants someone to mix him a drink. The album proper ends with "And The Violin", a rippling, burbling love song about the light of the moon, cherry trees in bloom and, yes, some burgundy wine.

There's also two digital download tracks available, "Too Much Women", a calypso lament bemoaning being faced with a preponderance of the charms and temptations of the fairer sex and, because you really can't have too many drinking songs, there's a slow sway waltzing "One For The Road". Listen responsibly.

Mike Davies