Erin Jordan writes with a dark and droll pen, sings in a flapper floozy / jazz moll mode, and wields a trio of instruments (piano, guitar, accordian), but what really intrigued me about this release is the inclusion of an oboeist (Jeremy Butkovitch) as an integral band member rather than sessioneer. The oboe, like the bassoon, is a sadly overlooked instrument save for show applications, and Butkovitch's presence lends an inseparable caberatic mood that then swings into gypsy wildlands every time a violin capers in to spark things up, as in the darkly humorous Jane, musical equivalent of 50s edu-films on venereal diseases meant to scare the bejeezus out of school children who might be contemplating straying from the claustrophobic Christian path of righteousness, continence, and abstinence.
The entirety of Gateway to Temptation is like the soundtrack to a high camp retro-flick of social indoctrination, witty and thematic while taking broad shots at the human animal and its unceasing penchant for delusion and self-abuse. Jordan obviously is a cynic and joins a palette of such artists as David E. Williams, Dudley Saunders (here), John Cale, and others who take the existentialist's role in a kind of stand-up capacity, executing duty with a sharp knife tempered in rapier satire.
The music itself is, as said, cabaretic rock with jazz and show inflections, a kind demented progression from the old Ian Whitcomb, New Vaudeville Six, Stackridge, and other sounds of the 60s and 70s. However, Jordan's acid tongue and fangs cleave closer in sentiment to Alice Cooper and Marilyn Manson but without the modernist/futurist sturm und drang, even reaching back to Kurt Weill. In other words, this is a disc for specialized, eclectic, and refined tastes
My only criticism would be for an engineering job that doesn't really open up the atmosphere this group deserves. It's not a bad documentation, but the Jordan and confreres deserve better. This is a CD with antecedents that need special handling, and the form is rare, meriting every iota of embellishment and room it can be given.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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