Neptune’s Daughter, Luminescent Orchestrii
BY DOMINIC MASI
When hearing the term “gypsy punk,” a few images come to mind: band members jumping around like mad men, a crazy audience, loud drums and a load of booze. Going into “Neptune’s Daughter,” the new release from Brooklyn based band Luminescent Orchestrii, I had a certain idea of how the album was going to sound. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Unlike the raucous hysteria of modern day gypsy punk heroes, Googol Bordello, Luminescent Orchestrii’s sound has a bit more class and subtlety. The album begins with “Moldavian,” a fast paced instrumental that sets the tone for what follows. The heavy drums and racing violin strings bounce off of each other in such a way that there is no craving for vocals—just more volume!
Lumii plays everything from more traditional klezmer punk styled songs (“Mur Strojmeno,” “Di Zun Vet Aruntergeyn”), to Spanish flavored songs (“La Tarde”). The standout is “How to Play Romanian,” a classic instrumental that uses haunting violins to bring the song to a calm in the middle, only to work it into an absolute frenzy by the end. The perfect song to dance to…or start a riot to.
Besides the beautiful strings, thumping drums and Benji Fox Rosen’s grooving bass lines, “Neptune’s Daughter” also features the beautiful harmonizing between two stunningly soft voices, Sarah Alden and Rima Fand. These two talents duel with their voices and violins. Songs that showcase their skills (“What the Water Said”) are amongst the album’s best.
On “Nasty Tasty,” Lumii strays from their stronger, more traditional style and tries their hand at hip-hop. Sort of. The song has rhymes, beat boxing and a heavy bass line–all of the goods needed for a hip hop track. Sxip Shirey and crew seem a bit lost on this one, but the beat and bass are so infectious that it overpowers everything and all is forgiven.
“Kombucha Monster” is another track that flirts with hip-hop, but in a more low-key way. The rhymes are left off to the side—a wise decision.
The album closes with the title track, which is, fittingly, a sea shanty. A multitude of voices–and even more instruments banging and blowing away in time—bring the album to its climatic conclusion.
Lumii’s sound is an eclectic, all-encompassing party. Press play and who knows where you’ll end up. It may be a on the dance floor, or at a protest, or even on the deck of a ship. Wherever this album leads you, you can bet your ass that you’ll be having a good time.