Written by Fense
You don’t typically hear songs named for guys. Yet the new I’m From Barcelona (MySpace) album, Who Killed Harry Houdini? does just that — and they use my name. As an opening track, “Andy” isn’t quite as hard-hitting as “Oversleeping” was to Let Me Introduce You To My Friends, but it does set the stage well for the rest of the album, which doesn’t necessarily have the power tracks of their debut.
But overall, Who Killed Harry Houdini? is more well-rounded than the debut. Powerful tracks are here, but there simply not as awe-striking as “We’re From Barcelona”, which isn’t saying much as that remains a pretty kick-ass song. And the elements that made I’m From Barcelona such a great album remain — the group is still 20 plus “friends” large, most of who join in with choir-like vocals.
As a whole, Who Killed Harry Houdini? has a better flow to it. It doesn’t succumb to the three song rule: three songs remain on repeat while the rest lay dormant. No, that was Let Me Introduce You To My Friends — the three tracks were at the beginning of the album, and while there plenty of great tunes, those were the ones that dominated the playlist. Here, however, there are simply great tracks and while none have stepped out as phenomenal (well, maybe “Music Killed Me”, the first single, and the lengthy closing tune “Rufus”), there aren’t any duds (I always had trouble listening to “Treehouse”).
Even the mellower tunes are great — case in point is A-side closer “Gunhild”. Oh yeah, “Mingus” is also a pretty decent standout. Here band leader Emanuel Lundgren utilizes his entourage choir a bit differently — the chorus has bas and las, which, when placed alongside hand claps, make the tune quite catchy (besides, it’s named after one of my all-time favorite jazz artists).
So, I guess that brings me to the conclusion. I can see Who Killed Harry Houdini? dominating my playlist just as much as Let Me Introduce You To My Friends, if not moreso. Sure, “We’re From Barcelona” and “Oversleeping” and “Collection Of Stamps” will always remain there as well, but three phenomenal songs are a damn good trade-off for ten great ones.
Mute Records [12″ LP, 2008]
2. Paper Planes
4. Music Killed Me
5. Gunhild (Featuring SoKo)
9. Little Ghost