The Gaslight Troubadours
The Gaslight Troubadours are Professor Singleton Purblind and Lon Lippincott; a modern day Burke and Hare of sample reconstruction. They cite their influences as scratchy old cylinder recordings, risqué Music Hall, 221b Baker Street, old radio show thrillers and Hammer Horror. The resulting mix would make Ed Wood proud. It’s ‘Carry On Screaming’ starring Vivian Stanshall, with a dose of The League Of Gentlemen thrown in for good measure. Mock horror with glitchy beats could be one, slightly loose description.
Their debut album is entitled ‘Clockwork Curiosities’. They describe it thus: “Imagine yourself rummaging through boxes of dusty Victorian stage props in the attic of a haunted mansion whilst the wind whistles through gnarled window frames, and something ungodly howls in a nearby forest. The distant sounds of a gramophone reverberates up the staircase, combining with the eerie tap, tap, tapping on a window pane nearby. It could well sound like that, or maybe not…”
The closest musical bedfellows in modern production terms would be Mo’ Wax and more specifically the likes of DJ Shadow, but with added low end bass sensibilities. It’s effectively cut & paste B-Boy culture with a twist. For example on the track ‘A Newly Created Being’ you can hear a bottle organ, a singing saw, a Teslar coil, an accordion, a Wurlitzer, old radio voices, and even a Speak & Spell toy. This is combined with Shugmonkey’s warped music hall vocals and Andy Kremer’s slinky double bass, which helps underpin a tight, funky drum break.
On ‘A Three Pipe Problem’ (a reference to Sherlock Holmes; he described particularly difficult cases as “three pipe problems”) the stage is set in a Victorian street outside 221b Baker Street. As Watson knocks on the door and then walks wearily up the stairs the tension begins to mount. What awaits him is a tale of vampires and werewolves…it could all end badly…
Many songs tell tales that may not reach happy conclusions. ‘Hot Snook Murder’ is one such oddity, where the plot twists 360º by the end. “Who really did the deed with a mandolin?” you’ll ask.
‘Sam Hall’ is an old English folk song about a bitterly unrepentant criminal who’s just about to meet his maker. It’s sung by Gus Isambard who drew inspiration from Peter Sellers’ classic macabre music-hall monologue recorded in 1970.
There are many more stories including ones about naughty little teddy bears, voodoo, Jekyll & Hyde, Egyptian incantations, steam trains, a particularly barmy guy named Ginger, opium dens, and the Elephant Man.
Suffice to say that this album is darker than your average bear, but it’s a lot of fun to boot. One thing’s for sure, you’ll have never heard anything quite like it before…
Released 28th October 2013
The Gaslight Troubadours
4* REVIEW IN MOJO
Dr Jekyll meets Sherlock Holmes in the Funky Drummer’s basement.
If raised on a steady diet of Hammer Horror, Murder Most Foul and Agatha Christie, then The Gaslight Troubadours are hard to resist. Continually referencing Victorian England’s seedy underbelly, Clockwork Curiosities takes us on a shuddering fright of a ride, with a singing saw, a bottle organ and a funky backbeat leading the cut-and-paste auditory proceedings. These chaps manage to cram all manner of sounds into their macabre mix: A Newly Created Being has hip hop scratching behind the singing saw, Twizzle blasts Bollywood strings into a music box, Let’s Misbehave drifts into dubstep and there are disjointed salsa riffs, choral chants, and mournful trumpet. A highlight is when Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson head for the Vampire Disco, grumbling about its two-guineas entrance fee…so reach for the laudanum and inhale this marvellous concoction.”
David Katz, Mojo Magazine.