You never know quite what to expect each time out with Anna Madorsky. Whereas her last, Talk is Cheap (here) was an advancement of the debut disc, Incantation (here), it also absorbed that effort within its framework. This one, Triumph & Symphony, however, is as the title implies, symphonic (minus the orchestra, 'cause who the hell can afford one nowadays?), a curious blend of chamber, classical, prog-pop, rock, and lullaby in a cycle of songs no longer calling up visions of fables gone wrong but instead possible love amid a world that doesn't exactly promote the act.
Erstwhile Kate Bush tinges come out fully here, blent with a touch of Bangles (!), some tart Lene Lovich, and a lushly cabaretic Julee Cruise/Meryn Cadell in a format reminding of nothing so much as the Bee Gees in their magnum opus, Odessa. Yep, I know that sounds odd, kinda like a stage show crafted by Salvador Dali with Patrick Campbell-Lyons and Abba co-arranging, but it's all right here. Took me three full listens to figure it out, too. All the more striking when one figures in the fact that Madorsky plays all keyboards, a bunch of the guitars, sings, handles the backing vocals, slips in some pseudo-orchestra (with a bit of real strings here and there), and did all the writing, arranging, and producing. Impressive.
The oddest aspect of the melodic concept cycle is how Triumph slips in and out of arty episodes and mainstream chart-poppery, especially given the chamber aspects. The flow isn't perfectly cohered but Effortless is gorgeous while tracks such as Animal have a Gaberielesque feel to them. In the final analysis, Triumph & Symphony is an experiment, an interim set of pieces morphing the modal landscape into some as yet undetermined final phase. This venture does not arrive there but is sailing its waters, as much of the recently hybridizing ensembles are. What the resulting vista will present us with is indeterminable, but this is a chapter in the story.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
Website design by David N. Pyles