Thursday, 15 April 2010

Rainbow Arabia - Kabukimono: Review

It's always warming to discover another band formed of marriage, isn't it? Especially when the group consists only of the married couple, unlike indie mainstays Yo La Tengo or Arcade Fire. In both those groups, extra band members must feel at times like musical gooseberries. But however sweet the back-story may be, making decent music goes a lot further. Like Sonny and Cher (in the happier moments), LA couple Danny and Tiffany Prestons enjoy a natural interplay. Their second EP 'Kabukimono' was recorded in the cracks of a relentless touring schedule, at one point opening for the in-vogue Gang Gang Dance across Europe, and it's a wide-eyed wonder of a recrd- a triumph of technology and worldview. Kabukimono clearly draws influence from subculture- dub, italo and post-punk to name a few- but rather than sounding derivative, Rainbow Arabia artfully weave these elements into a sound which is unmistakably their own.

It's a euphoric and refreshing journey across this record's five original recordings and two remixes. Sharpened drumbeats overlap and clash wonderfully, the deep hits conflicting with staccato beats on top. Tiffany Preston's delivery is inflicted with playfulness and soaked in a controlled reverb. Her melodies are less a narrative focal point for the music and rather a kind of avant-garde complement to it. It's a similar style to Ponytail's caustic frontwoman Molly Siegel- though whilst Siegels rasps are shrill and feral, the vocals here are intoxicated and heady. Preston is clearly mouthing words, but it's hard to tell what they are. Maybe even she doesn't know. Maybe it doesn't matter. The cavernous production on the vocals contrasts with a precise drum sound, spiking guitar work and ever so slightly fuzzed synths in a style which calls to mind the work of Warp stalwarts Broadcast- but Rainbow Arabia 's agenda is more cosmopolitan. The steel drums on 'Harlem Sunrise' provide an easy context, but the record is frequently tinged with globalism. Kabukimono is an intriguing record, representing a real statement of promise. Rainbow Arabia have created a psychadelic and hedonistic dream world rich in colour, depth and most importantly, sound- and it's thoroughly enjoyable.