Hoseff. Modern Gypsies.
Primal Lemon Records, 2012. Hoseff: http://www.hoseff.com/
To be perfectly frank, I had a difficult time with Modern Gypsies. I couldn’t jive with the fusion of blues vocals over the gypsy music. It’s a musical marriage where plates fly and the neighbors avoid looking at the house as much as possible. The mash up of mournful folk music, blues, alternative, and gypsy guitar just never settle in at all. Maybe it’s my lack of exposure to the proper Romany culture and music, but it felt like a hodgepodge of music that could have used some polish. The songs flow from boring to awkward back to boring. The electric bass was dominating, and instead of adding grit the vocals, it was just distracting. The George Lucas sound effects on “In My Arms Tonight” left me as confused as all of the prequel films. The song’s tendency towards drama does work in its favor, but the vocals and weird effects seem self-indulgent to me.
As a music listener, I am looking for music that makes me sit up. Music that distracts me and makes me hyper-aware of the chord progressions and lyrical turns of phrase and doesn’t allow me to ignore it in favor of the voices in my head. I had no such experiences with Modern Gypsies. I was left feeling the way I do when I hear a Zappa album. Confused, unsure, and like even alcohol could not navigate me through the haunted forest. This album came out mostly grunge without the delicate lyrical progression I hoped for. Hoseff tries to incorporate the alternative niche similar to bands like Rasputina and Soundgarden, but just fails to thaw my ice water-submerged heart. However if I ever need a soundtrack to a hallucinogenic sequence, about 50% of this album is up for grabs.
Maybe I missed it. Maybe there is a great signifier that I forgot, skipped, or failed to absorb. Ultimately, though, I was not impressed by Hoseff’s offerings. Their Modern Gypsies failed to deliver anything to me that I was missing, and or to energize me as a music lover. Hoseff is an Akron-based performer, appearing in various venues around the region.
Personnel: Joe Garcia (vocals, guitar, bass guitar, piano, upright bass, lap steel, mandolin, percussion, synths), Angie Haze (vocals, accordion, piano, synths).
Tracks: Modern Gypsies, Waitin' on You, In My Arms Tonight, First Desire, This is Why We Live, Just My Dream, The Devil I Know, Sad Song, Yesterday's News, When I'm Gone, Make It Through the Night, Shades of Grey.