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Spanish Dance Troupe

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Album Review

Gorky's Zygotic Mynci's sixth album, Spanish Dance Troupe, is also their first for their U.S. label, Beggar's Banquet. As with Barafundle and Gorky 5, this collection of songs focuses on the accessible side of the group's gently iconoclastic folk-rock. That doesn't mean that Spanish Dance Troupe has much in common with the rest of the late-'90s music scene, however. Though psychedelic, country, and '70s pop elements spring up here and there, the Gorkys' songs are untouched by musical trends or fashions. The wistful violins, piano, and brass on "Don't You Worry," "Murder Ballad," and "She Lives on a Mountain" seem more inspired by traditional folk songs and vaudeville tunes than any hyphenated, postmodern genres. Acoustic interludes like "Drws" and "The Fool" are scattered throughout the album, drawing it even further away from modern rock's increasingly self-referential tendencies. But when the Gorkys decide to go pop, they do it wholeheartedly. Noisy guitars and smooth harmonies make "Poodle Rockin'" — a song that's as cute and weird as the title suggests — and "Desolation Blues" as distinctive as Spanish Dance Troupe's quieter moments. "Faraway Eyes" is a wonderful, bittersweet country song disguised as pop, uniting the group's sometimes contradictory musical ideas into a cohesive sound. Above all, the group's sincerity shines through on Spanish Dance Troupe, inviting listeners along for an eclectic, entertaining ride.


Formed: 1990

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Sounding like a bizarrely sweet and whimsical cross between progressive rock, psychedelia, and pure pop, Gorky's Zygotic Mynci were one of the most original and distinctive bands to emerge from the vital post-Brit-pop Welsh scene of the mid-'90s. Gorky's music followed unconventional time signatures and structures, as well as instrumentation (boasting everything from droning moog synthesizers to slurring trombones and steel guitars) and melodic patterns. Furthermore, the band's lyrics were rarely...
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