Review of Mannequins on Gothic Paradise

Mannequins – Review

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This project is back with another album focusing on the cabaret folk sound they’ve been able to establish as their own. Spanning a dozen tracks, the dizzying sounds gush forth from each track one after another for a full album of their trademark sound featuring the core duo as well as ethereal vocals from Simona Giusti.

As if taking cues from my previous review, this album is longer than the previous work, though features a little less diversity than before. The main focus of this album seems to mainly be on the fast-paced loops of piano, accordion, xylophone (or similar) all combined together in a hypnotic, dizzying mixture. The imagery that comes to mind is the round and round nautious feeling of being on a carousel that’s going way too fast, something out of the movie “Something Wicket This Way Comes”, yet set in a small, haunted country village in France. This can be good and bad depending on your mood, style and other situations. For me I really enjoy a number of individual tracks and include them on our Ethereal Radio Show, but to sit and listen to the album from start to finish in one sitting leaves me with my head spinning, almost dizzy and nautious. Maybe there is too much of a good thing?

I don’t want to leave a bitter taste in anyone’s mouth because for the gothic genre fans, there are some real gems here, starting with “Found Love In A Pain(t) (You Make Me Feel)” which also includes an accompanying video which I highly recommend watching to get a great, full picture and feel for this track. This piece highlights the excellent mix of ethereal female vocals over the male backing vox all layered over that cabaret style of accordion, and various folk-sounding instruments from guitar, xylophone and other synths and keyboards. Skip forward to “Beyond the Others” and we’re greeted with the beautiful ethereal style that I really grew to love with many pieces from their previous album. The haunting sounds of piano, children’s laughter, subtle electronics and percussion create an elaborate tapestry of music for the sweet angelic vocals. As the album moves along a bit we get some instrumental pieces followed by more upbeat selections with that dizzying cabaret style. A favorite along these lines is “Little James (the soldier)” with a bit more of a folk sound while still maintaining the hypnotic piano, 3/4 waltz rhythm for a real haunting vibe. As the album starts to wind down “Requiem for a Soldier” comes as a sort of instrumental reprise of “Little James (the soldier)”, again with more of a haunting ethereal style for a beautiful piece.

After a couple of fairly intense and even somewhat chaotic pieces, the album comes to a close and the listener is left with their head spinning and if you’re like me, a little confused. Overall there are some great selections if you pick and choose favorites as I have. The compositions are well done and the performance of each piece is great, these are some talented artists, that’s for sure. While a little chaotic, still very highly recommended for fans of this style.

Rating: 3.5/5

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