Grand Guignol and Varietes
Oh, thank god for this! I was getting so fucking bored of how so many so-called dark cabaret bands were just bleeding the whole shebang dry with bloodless artifice and facile undestanding of the very basic artform; like, “Hey I'll just use this Cabaret 101 piano vamp over and over and over and over and everyone will be shocked by my decadence.” Zzzzzzzzzz. But then comes French quartet Katzenjammer Kabarett (pretentious name that references classic late 19th century comic strip? Yeah, I'll have some of that.), paying some fealty to the cabaret aesthetic but then shaking it up like a cheap snowglobe - cramming in a dizzying array of other influences like postpunk, early British goth, Japanese music, 4AD’s dream experiments, chamber music, disco, Ze Records at its height. And, oh yeah, Siouxsie and the Banshees loom large, particularly in the singer’s lusty, singular vocals. “Grand Guignol” is an invigorating, heady mix, with remarkably assured performances, arrangements and an unerring instinct for fucking with the format.
Art-damaged gothic chamber music, you saved my damn life! What took you so fucking long?
- Matthew Moyer