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Lingua Franca
Grand Piano
Acutest Records
www.thelinguafranca.com


Naturally, "a musical tragicomedy in one act" is destined to be as pretentious as cosmetic surgery for dogs. Hell, Grand Piano is basically Pink Floyd's The Wall abridged, complete with stage directions for any high school thespians willing to give it a go. But if you have the stomach for drama, (as in Human Drama) it's really fucking cool! Imagine Johnny Indovina performing a slew of theatrical Tom Waits numbers.

Essentially, this is a host-your-own-murder carried off in music noir. Simple, moody acoustic guitar sets the stage for a Swans/This Mortal Coil foray. Stephen Wisienewski stars as the warbling narrator, his vivid descriptions occupying several depths of interpretation. Just as the trade language Lingua Franca was favored by normal folk of many cultures, Wisienewski avoids the trappings of flowery words. Instead he uses simple language to convey complex, well thought ideas. I was going to use the example from the plot developing "Murder/Mystery" "They washed their hands white with house paint/when the water did no good/it ran down and soaked their shirts at the elbow/it made a sticky seal like a dirty wound would." Then I opted for "I'm dumb enough to believe what teacher says/she tells me Christmas is real/and that an angel gets its wings/every time they show it on TV."

It truly is a wonderful life when bits of The Bad Seeds play host to Rob Dougan orchestrations on "A Kind Of Dancing." "The Wrong Side Of Luck" is nearly Queensryche's soaring scope and vocal operatics. The weakest link (if there must be one) is the attempt to emulate Waits on the blue-inflected "Things We Know For Sure." But ultimately, the fantastic themes and thrilling dynamics create a great, if brief, melodrama of Orson Well-ian merit. Now if we could only bring back Esperanto.

-Ewan Wadharmi

Track List:
1. A Kind Of Dancing
2. Murder/Mystery
3. A Thousand Birds
4. The Wrongside Of Luck
5. Things We Know For Sure


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