about%20-%20jpg.jpg reviews%20-%20jpg.jpg interviews%20-%20jpg.jpg gigs%20-%20jpg.jpg cd_review_diabloswingorchestra_pandoraspinata001006.jpg
It's been nearly three years since Sweden's purveyors of inimitable sonic derangement and rhythmically infectious dance-inducing tunes released 'Sing Along Songs for the Damned & Delirious' but, finally, we have their third full-length offering in the form of 'Pandora's Piņata'. Has it been worth the wait? Oh fuck yes. It's evidently been three years well spent in crafting eleven further slices of genre-bending, melodically catchy, exhilaratingly innovative music that, once again, balance out accessibility with experimentalism to perfection. It's what Diablo Swing Orchestra do best and a compositional aptitude not to be regarded lightly. To load your music with so much innovation and aural craziness while not distancing the listener and maintaining accessibility at all times is something that few bands attain. To challenge your senses and simultaneously absorb you makes for one hell of an exciting experience. DSO are masters of this.

While the Swedes' core sound is intact, they've also progressed their aesthetic...or, rather, expanded might be a better word to use. Where they've previously used session wind players on various tracks, trumpeter Martin Isaksson and trombonist Daniel Hedin now feature as established, full-time band members and, as such, their instruments feature more prominently throughout. And to great effect as well. Most impressive about 'Pandora's Piņata' though, and more so than on DSO's previous two albums, is their effortless blending of a whole array of genres. There's a rock/metal element running throughout most tracks but embellishments, fusions, and divergences into a multitude of other genres, all seamlessly amalgamated, is stunning.

Vocally, DSO main-man and guitarist Daniel Håkansson delivers his affectively captivating clean singing with a greater emotional depth than ever before and Annlouice Loegdlund's operatic voice is at its powerfully expressive best. She's even afforded an aria midway through proceedings in the form of 'Aurora' which showcases her singing against a more minimalist accompaniment. It's at this point you'll click, if you haven't already realised before, that she's the real deal, unlike the plethora of quasi-soprano and pseudo-operatic female voices within the metal scene. Likewise, Håkansson himself has an aria of sorts for the album's closing piece, 'Justice for Saint Mary', weaving engaging melodies with his emotive vocals over acoustic guitar and strings that ultimately climaxes in a crescendo of a heavied-up instrumentation before a final twist of techno-infused craziness (complete with a jarring stereo mix that took me completely by surprise the first time it blasted through my headphones).

In short, 'Pandora's Piņata' is a wildly innovative yet exceptionally well-balanced work that'll make you want to dance, tap your feet and generally jump around like a complete fool to its swing-based grooves and other dance persuasions. Thoroughly batty and deranged, it's an unmitigated joy to have these Swedish nutters back.
Review by Mark Holmes
14th May 2012
1) Voodoo Mon Amour
2) Guerilla Laments
3) How to Organize a Lynch Mob
4) Kevlar Sweethearts
5) Black Box Messiah
6) Exit Strategy of a Wrecking Ball
7) Aurora
8) Mass Rapture
9) Honey Trap Aftermath
10) Of Kali Ma Calibre
11) Justice for Saint Mary
"...eleven further slices of genre-bending, melodically catchy, exhilaratingly innovative music that, once again, balance out accessibility with experimentalism to perfection."