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Charming Hostess - The Bowls Project CD (album) cover


Charming Hostess



3.95 | 3 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars In the early days, progressive rock was mostly about taking rock and infusing more artistic influences than you'd expect from a typical rock song, be they classical or jazz influences, or more complex song structures.

Well, in 2010, such a theology still has validity, and in the avant garde stream, you have acts like Charming Hostess, who create an eclectic mix of klezmer/traditional music, folk musics, rock, and avant garde music, in what could arguably be considered to be a continuation of the original spirit of progressive rock (if you are so inclined to view it that way). For sure, they are creating music that has rock context to it that is influenced largely by non-rock music. I doubt "progressive rock" was ever in mind as they made this album, however.

That being said, there is also a fair amount on this album that does not really have a lot to do with rock music, but is more related to the aforementioned traditional/folk aspect of the groups music. This is not new for the band, and some of the stronger tracks on this album (such as Hangman Devil Man) benefit as a result.

Once again, Charming Hostess present us with a concept album based on Babylonian demon bowls. These bowls were created by householders, and they would inscribe it with their secrets and desires and bury it under their doorway for protection. Basing the music of this album around these historical artifacts, Charming Hostess brings a long lost time and feel into the present in a way that is both respectful of its origins and pleasantly modern.

This album is a bit more rock than the bands other Tzadik release, Sarajevo Blues, and features more avant-garde elements to the music (listen to Bird of Rivers or Bound and Turned Aside, and you will know exactly what I mean). Gone are the beatboxing, and the vocal harmonies are less frequent, with the songs relying more on bandleader Jewlia Eisenberg's solo singing. Her voice is characteristic and her singing good, although not in a multi-octave stretched vocal chords kind of way. Her presence is in the passion and emotion she brings to her songs.

This album is seventeen songs long, and they vary in quality, but there are no duds. From the charming story songs, to the more tribal sounding songs, to the more avant garde to even the playful, this album covers a lot of ground, and it does so well. Definitely worth checking out.

TheGazzardian | 4/5 |


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