• Celebration
  • 4AD
  • 2006-02-27

This band are called Celebration for a reason — Celebration is a freak-out cabaret record, but with that underlying hint of cold and darkness which typifies most of record label 4AD’s output. The band is made up of vocalist/percussionist Katrina Ford, drummer David Bergander and multi-instumentalist Sean Antanaitis. Ford and Antanaitis have been playing in bands together since their schooldays — some may have heard of their previous groups Jaks or Lovelife — but they feel that this is the band they’ve been waiting and looking for.

The album is produced by David Sitek of TV On The Radio, his band being big fans of Celebration — Sitek helped them get their current contract and contributes some instrumental parts to this album, with other vocal contributions appearing across the record from the rest of his band.

swirling organs and vocals pick the listener up and draw them into the jazzy rhythms

Celebration has a very carnivalesque mood, primarily brought out throught the use of the organ as the lead instrument, both hammond and reed, as well as Antanaitis’ own invention — the guitorgan — a guitar modified to produce sound not just through conventional amplification but also through an analogue organ tone generator — clever! The organ helps give the album a very soulful feel at points as well, helped by the slower, broodier nature of some of the songs, like second track “Diamonds”.

Celebration is not a bad album at all with some strong tracks like “Foxes”, a forceful dance number, and opener “War”. Other standout tracks are “Tonight”, where swirling organs and vocals pick the listener up and draw them into the jazzy rhythms, as on “New Skin” with its relentless disco-rock beat and punchy vocals. Overall though the album is a bit hit and miss and the better tracks are contrasted with those such as “China”, which although aren’t bad and have a similar sound to others just fail to engage with a hook. Some of the songs on the album also sound a bit too cold — slower numbers like “Lost Souls” failing to draw the listener in.

Celebration offers some great songs and some interesting ideas, ones which could easily be developed into a great album, unfortunately though this first offering doesn’t play as great as a whole album as you’d like it too. It’s worth investigating though as fans of those as diverse as Quintron, Al Green and The Birthday Party may find something of interest here.

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