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Non Credo - Reluctant Hosts CD (album) cover


Non Credo



4.22 | 9 ratings

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5 stars Non Credo started off their recording career in 1988 with Reluctant Hosts, an album that would mark a long and artistically successful relationship between Joe Berardi and Kira Vollman. There have only been two other albums after this debut, but if you have quality like this, quantity isn't that important. Reluctant Hosts was long out of print, but it was luckily rereleased in 2000 and there are still a few copies floating around here and there. If you have a chance, pick this album up as it's a true gem for fans of experimental music.

The first part of the album contains 8 vocal tracks and one composed instrumental, while the second part is filled with mostly improvisations (I think). All the vocal tracks are great, with traditionally twisted and fun lyrics by Kira Vollman. The styles vary from almost cabaret songs, to what sounds like almost pop (for Non Credo) and experimental parts that Non Credo would later become renowned for on their Happy Wretched Family album. There's also a circus-like atmosphere on the instrumental "Ask the Bearded Lady" (a fitting title).

The second part of the album is comprised of songs without any conventional vocals, but Kira does create some havoc with her vocal experiments. In this part of the record, we can hear Non Credo basically doing any genre you please - from jazz, classical, avant-garde, ambient. It's almost as if they were trying to show off their credentials. Look at us! This is what we can do! But I see nothing wrong with this, at least not with Non Credo, because every segments sounds like a natural progression of the next one and nothing seems forced.

Kira Vollman's lyrics are again spectacular. She creates her own world of dark humour, where she takes sometimes extremely tragic events and puts a humorous twist on them. The standout tracks in this department are (for me) "Looking in the Window" and "Thank You Mommy". I can't think of anyone who is able to create something so funny, yet thoughtful from a theme that is basically very sombre.

It is sometimes hard to believe that Non Credo is only a duo. True, there are some guest musicians here, but most of the work is done by Joe and Kira. I am particularly impressed by Joe's work on percussion, the keyboard parts (from both) and naturally Kira's vocals. Perhaps, this is their most eclectic work to date in terms of style, as they seem to effortlessly switch between so many different genres, like classical, jazz, avant-garde, cabaret, pop,...

The only part of the album that Non Credo's inexperience is evident is in choosing the song sequence. They put all the tracks with the lyrics in the first part of Reluctant Hosts, while the second part contains some ambient and experimental passages. On their two following releases they would remedy this and combine the tracks more wisely.

Apart from the one shortcoming I mentioned, Non Credo's debut is nothing short of excellent. There are no signs of immaturity, the music is well crafted and cleaver as always. The lyrics again stand out, as does the wacky (and serious) music. Joe and Kira made an incredible album with Reluctant Hosts, one that transcends genre classification. This album shows the enthusiasm of musicians eager to explore new musical worlds and the craftsmanship of experienced composers. Non Credo has to be heard to be believed!

maribor1 | 5/5 |


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