For simplicity's sake, there are two cornerstones to Yourchestra's sound: old-timey, '20s-era jug band sounds and psychedelic freakout. Now, attempt to sonically bridge the gap between these two ridiculously disparate elements, and you're close to imagining what their debut effort, Sparkel, Sammy, sounds like. "Water in His Heart" kicks off the sound experiment with a kooky, 13-minute epic featuring elephantine drum beats, haunting vox, moody accordion, and electronic noise that sounds like a pack of prowling gremlins feasting on your skull. From the second tune to the final, 18th track, short-form songs abandon LSD-sodden rhythms, but not the eclectic ambiance. Compositions like "Peach Groove" showcase free spazz vocals and a (by golly) bird-chirping slide whistle, while the quick-hitting 44-second track "Hiemlich Man X" is the album's most amusing, with its loose assembly and Dr. Demento-like vocals. The remainder is amazing for what it doesn't encompass, as listeners will hear Delta blues riffs, church organ, lo-fi samples of foreign language talkers, shortwave radio crackles, kazoo cries, cheesy '80s TV-show beats, free jazz with found objects, goofball catcalls, etc. Despite the vaudevillian circus, the musicianship is strong. One listen should convince you that these cats wield a lot of instruments and can still play their asses off.
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November 22, 2007 | 4:00am|