Cafe De La Danse Records, 2011
REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 05/23/2012
I’ve heard some interesting stories behind a band’s inception, but never anything quite like this. Caravan Palace assembled in 2005 when a film company needed music for a silent pornographic movie. Though they began as a trio for this unusual purpose, the group soon transformed into a legitimate band with a much larger cast. Some well received demos and singles made them wildly successful on the Internet, and after a year of touring in their home country of France, they snagged a record deal in 2007.
Their self-titled debut in 2008 spent considerable time on the charts all over Europe and sat on the French album charts for an unprecedented 68 weeks. It seemed the band that some felt was just a soundtrack spinoff with zero validity became a legitimate affair pretty quickly. Their pulsating blend of electro swing and reckless jazz with both clarinets and trombones in addition to the usual suspects began getting noticed all over the continent.
Now with their sophomore effort just hitting streets, Caravan Palace has managed to construct an entirely new animal. While their first trip to the plate was a listen of high energy and thumping rhythms, the players seamlessly blending memorable sing-a-longs and a large arsenal of melodies, Panic is a more relaxed body of work, even delicate at some points.
Sure, traces still linger of their former self. Tracks like “Clash” could easily find their way onto a party mix, and “Rock It For Me” certainly finds a solid groove and runs with it. But the bulk of the music here lends itself to a more subdued, quaint amalgamation of gypsy jazz and electronic playfulness.
Though it’s more electronic-based than their first effort, it’s no less intriguing, and quite possibly the most unique disc you’re likely to hear anytime soon. If you only pick up one record this year that is out of your element, this should be it. Great artwork to boot.