The Destroyers

Out Of Babel

Destruction Records DEST002


Full Price (47 mins)

Originally published in Songlines.

And so out of the inane cavalcade of Balkanogypsy soundalikes, comes a blow-your-mind original. The Destroyers are a fifteen piece Birmingham, UK based collective with a difference – yes, they have the requisite rip-roaring horns, a crisp rhythm section and a charismatic leader, but they also have songs - yes, songs - with intelligent lyrics and a maturity that far surpasses the usual alcohol-meets-exotica approach. Front man Paul Murphy’s poetic growl sets the mood right away on ‘Utopia Bypass’: his gravelly voice declaiming over a lolloping cimbalom groove, sounding every bit like Taraf de Haidouks wandering by mistake onto the Thriller video shoot. What makes this album stand out is the wealth of ideas: ‘Where Has The Money Gone’ is a rabble-rousing polka narrated by a suicidal Bernard Madoff – but where lazier bands would let that one, good, central idea loose and leave it at that, the Destroyers flit from narrative, funk guitar led verse to hell-for-leather chorus and Celtic interlude without missing a beat. They can do jump-up instrumentals, as on the playfully named, Bulgarian sounding ‘The Stork Crossing the Dudley Canal’, and also choruses with good hooks – the willfully schizophrenic ‘Out Of Babel’ being a prime example. Just when you think everything is clear, another surprise: ‘Torregavata’, a thoroughly feel-good summery Italian waltz with a sublime lead vocal from trumpeter Leo Altarelli, warm Django-style guitar accompaniment and rich, dark lyrics of love and death. Minimum pretence and maximum style: Out Of Babel is a sophisticated, theatrical tour de force.

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