2008-10-27To classify DeLeon in any one category almost doesn’t seem fair. They’re not rock, pop, or world. Believe it or not, monikers like those aren’t vague enough to explain exactly what it is that DeLeon does. The result, built on a base of haunted 15th century Spanish shepherding music, is creepy, and deliciously weird. Along the vein of the Pogues and Gogol Bordello, DeLeon has taken an obscure sect of traditional European folk (this time Jewish, Spanish, and gypsy) and given it their own modern flavor, but instead of heavy punk infusion, there is an indie-ish hip-hop and dub presence that really sets them apart. It leaves the listener feeling cloudy and strange. The whole album plays like chocolate with chili pepper on a cold evening in the woods with no moon. It’s that kind of weird, and that kind of good. The lyrics bounce from Spanish to Hebrew to English incoherently at times, and as with most English translations, come out a little corny but the positively baleful and gorgeous voice of singer Daniel Saks more than compensates. This guy is their ace in the hole and has found the perfect nest amidst this mash-up of drum machines, electric guitars, and more traditional sounds. Good to play front to back so you can enjoy it’s intensity and almost painful (think the Smiths a little) joy, DeLeon has come up with a sound that stays with you long after the album is over. Perfect for seducing an emotional exchange student, or your next foray into mysticism. Check out tracks 6, 10 and 12 especially. – Stef-alopogus
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