2 Thirsty Girl, or, the Tale of the Storm Crow | MP3 Excerpt
3 Hammer, Anvil and Stirrups
4 The Early Years of Dr. Lindsay
5 Lizard Tree On Fire
6 The Glorious Immolation of the Holy Order of the Sun | MP3 Excerpt
7 Dog vs. Postman, in
8 St. Nick’s Sugar Hill Sanitorium (What Do You Reckon, Julia?)
9 Concerning Two Lunatic Vagabonds of the Middle Ages | MP3 Excerpt
10 Commercial Success
11 Marvelous Murderess | MP3 Excerpt<
The Deadfly Ensemble returns with their third album, An Instructional Guide For Aspiring Arsonists, a kid-gloved punch-up between artsy post-punk and off-kilter chamber-folk and their most frenetic offering to date, replete with cinematic arias, tomahawk-wielding war-marches and dreamy, synth-laden vignettes.
Deadfly vocalist and songwriter Lucas Lanthier has already proven himself to be a renaissance man. Every album from his previous band Cinema Strange, as well as the first two Deadfly Ensemble albums, came well equipped with writings, videos, and artwork courtesy of Mr. Lanthier himself. An Instructional Guide… keeps up the tradition, furnishing fans with a richly textured album package that includes a fold-out poster with pages of the weirdly fantastic lyrics that have made Lanthier’s projects famous AND a limited edition insert signed by the entire band!
The music on An Instructional Guide… recalls some of the bombast and energy of his earlier Cinema Strange works, moving The Deadfly Ensemble into a new phase of snarling literary art-rock mischief. They can still include themselves amongst a lineage of Weimar-era nightlife and even vaudevillian jazz performers, but the artistic developments are Dada chaos and sardonic brain teasers. Imagine that David Tibet took the Current 93 crew into a tunnel of love boat ride maintained, decorated and administered by the Virgin Prunes, and when they emerged they holed up in a New England lighthouse until an album was born from their quivering loins. And what the hell, the lighthouse was haunted…
With five members, this is the fullest version of the band to appear on record to date, providing a level of expression that their compositional sensibilities seem to revel in. The conflux of erratic musicians that form the Ensemble have wrought an album with some of the elaborate strangeness of Kate Bush and Sparks, but with liberal and conspicuous appointments from the topsy-turvy post-punk universe. The folk sensibility of the first two records persists, but if “folk” is the Shirley Collins in the equation, she has been kidnapped by a renegade electric chamber orchestra, had her dainties crammed into leather and stilettos and given LSD to help ease her into her new world of coked-up rodeo clowns and dockside bars. Sort of like a lost episode of “The Prisoner.”
Outrageous stories and bizarre tragedies unfold with energy and power, directed with precision by agile and erudite bass tacks, stentorian cello decrees and the evil laughter of a slew of synths. Meanwhile, acoustic and electric guitars adorn and nuance with a Chameleons-esque filigree of melodic decoration. The percussive foundation for the group is a pristine tailoring of triplets, jazz-age sizzle and syncopation around wending, tribal stomps and rock and roll tirades. It’s the perfect framework on which to hang Lanthier’s eclectic and absolutely original vocal bursts which cackle, soar and brood to deliver crone-like soliloquy, heroic saga and defeat of every shade, which, like the tattoo of a freckle on the laser-burned backside of a gingery tickle-scientist, utterly complete the vision. The darker shades of the indie music scene are given, in The Deadfly Ensemble, something that they have never seen or heard before. And with all the black-clad clones and hipster uniforms swarming across the landscape, it’s important to have the Ensemble out there making art, making new sounds and COMPOSING, no matter fucking what.