Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Myshkin's Ruby Warblers,Corvidae

From Dirty Linen #122 (Feb/Mar 2006)

Myshkin’s Ruby Warblers
Double Salt 02 (2005)

One of the great gifts of Myshkin — who was raised in the Midwest, came to fruition in New Orleans, now lives in Oregon, and seems to have multitudes of places in her blood — is her ability to evoke a sense of place on CD. Listening to Corvidae, you feel as if she and her bandmates, most notably fellow one-named bassist Sailor, who also produced the CD, are right in front of you, conjuring up their traveling tales. Corvidae is a worthy follow-up to the 2002 breakthrough by the “Gypsy torch punk chanteuse,” Rosebud Bullets. On “Caledonia,” she vows, “I’m gonna sit on this here egg, I’m gonna hatch a little paradise.” That’s just what she does here, weaving her amazing voice, sometimes deep and full, sometimes high and fluty, through a dance hall’s worth of jazzy instruments — sometimes, as on “Saving of the Day,” tinged with electronica that evokes eerie bells and sirens. Though the subjects are often dark, the music throbs with energy: Witness the joyful carnival sound, complete with a woozy trumpet, of “Human Cannonball” and the lively portrait of a pair of barflies in “Gypsytown.” The sense of danger is, thrillingly, always present in Myshkin’s dreams. “Pipeline” begins with people stealing gasoline as if it were diamonds or life-sustaining water — or maybe something more sinister, a drug that sustains and kills: “The fumes made you sick and the gas burned your skin/But we shouted and laughed like it was silver or silk we were bathing in,” she recounts, amid a waltz arrangement that is both giddy and melancholy. And then someone lights a match.

Pamela Murray Winters (Churchton, MD)

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