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The Last Laugh

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Album Review

Although a folk album at heart, The Last Laugh owes as much to baroque pop and pastoral psychedelia as the folk traditions that provide its foundation. Singer/songwriter Helena Costas is a modern-day troubadour, a student of Arthurian legend one moment and an indie temptress the next, and she plays each role for several scenes before flitting off to the wings to change. Had The Last Laugh been her own solo project, these unusual tales of goblins, jousting knights, and jellybeans might seem too fanciful for their own good. Joker's Daughter takes strength in collaboration, however, and Costas' delicate folk songs are supported by production from Danger Mouse, string arrangements from Italian composer (and Gnarls Barkley associate) Daniele Luppi, and occasional horn toots from Neutral Milk Hotel's Scott Spillane. It's an unexpected combination, but the synthesis works quite well, creating a sort of psych-folk oddity that alternately recalls Donovan, Suzanne Vega, Renaissance-era madrigals, and '60s Italian cinema. Danger Mouse claims co-writing credits on every song, and his musical contributions are tastefully understated: a rhythmic pulse here, a softly buzzing synthesizer there, but never anything resembling the neo-soul or club-worthy material of his past projects. It's fun to see folk music taking such unexpected turns, especially when the result sounds this enchanting.


Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

The atmospheric folk-pop outfit Joker's Daughter is a collaboration between English-by-way-of Greece singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Helena Costas and genre-bending hip-hop artist/producer Danger Mouse (Gnarls Barkley, Danger Doom, DM & Jemini). Costas, who began her musical career on violin, crafts elegant pop songs that draw on everything from mythology to food to late-'60s/early-'70s British folk -rock. Her correspondence with Danger Mouse began in 2003 with home-recorded demos, which...
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The Last Laugh, Joker's Daughter
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