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Diablo Swing Orchestra: Pacifisticuffs
Diablo Swing Orchestra - Pacifisticuffs CD Album Review

Diablo Swing Orchestra: Pacifisticuffs

Avant Garde Rock/Metal
4.0/5.0

After several years of delay, Sweden's avant garde rock band Diablo Swing Orchestra makes their long awaited return with their new and fourth album, Pacifisticuffs. Unusual title, yes, and exactly what you would expect from this band. On board with the band is new singer and pianist Kristin Evegard and new drummer Johan Norback.

Diablo Swing Orchestra Band Photo

Diablo Swing Orchestra

The simple summary of Pacifisticuffs is that it's everything you would expect from Diablo Swing Orchestra. For the uninitiated, DSO twists diverse musical genres like rock, metal, swing, jazz, opera, and Latin sounds, into ambitious and eclectic arrangements. These compositions, in turn, are embellished by cello orchestration and brass accents from trumpet and trombone. The result is that the songs that can sound anything from theater of the bizarre to comical opera, from silly seriousness to wacky wonderment.

You may wish you had a songmaster, like a circus ringleader, to lead you through each song as the parts can be varied and diverse. Thankfully, DSO has the musical common sense to sew into each song the important threads of melody, harmony, beat, and groove. These things allow your mind to connect to what your ears are hearing.

As for the songs, some dissection of them would probably be a gross misrepresentation of them or simply an exercise in futility. I personally enjoy DSO's swing rock when it twists cello, trumpet, and trombone in the arrangements, which is most every song. But my highlights would include The Age Of Vulture Culture, Jigsaw Hustle, and Karma Bonfire. Songs that didn't really connect with me were Ode To The Innocent and Climbing The Eyewall. The former was simply slow and dry, the latter heavy and lumbering, and both didn't have dramatic flare, especially from the brass, of the other songs.

Perhaps my best assessment of Pacifisticuffs is that Diablo Swing Orchestra has peaked in creativity and performance. So much so that, they've become predictable by example, a genre unto themselves that has gone as far as it can go. Nevertheless, if you dig Diablo Swing Orchestra, you will be completely satisfied with Pacifisticuffs.

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The Bottom Line

Perhaps my best assessment of Pacifisticuffs is that Diablo Swing Orchestra has peaked in creativity and performance. So much so that, they've become predictable by example, a genre unto themselves that has gone as far as it can go. Nevertheless, if you dig Diablo Swing Orchestra, you will be completely satisfied with Pacifisticuffs.

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