World in Stereo: TriBeCaStan: 5 Star Cave

TriBeCaStan: 5 Star Cave (EverGreene Music, 4/27/10)

TriBeCaStan‘s latest album, 5 Star Cave, sounds like an extremely talented group of musicians who happen to have ADD and are cashing in their frequent-flier miles.

They travel across the musical landscape of the entire world with dizzying speed: one second you’re grooving to a banjo-led southern folk-funk jamboree, and the next you’re boogieing to a Caribbean jazz breakdown relocated to a Grecian island.

The music can’t be traced back to any one geographic point; instead it connects like a massive web over dots on Phileas Fogg’s world map.

The album isn’t cohesive musically, but it solidifies itself as a unified work through its repeated dives into multiple overlapping genre explorations. Most of the songs sound like jam sessions, but with a sense of purpose that most jam voyages lose along the way.

Vocal passages by Samantha Parton give a billowy soul whisper to the more straight folk numbers, with lyrics that are surprisingly mundane (love, loss, lost love) for a band that is constantly trying to push the listener into a jetlagged whirlwind of sounds.

5 Star Cave succeeds by reinterpreting “world music” as “all the music in the world crammed into a Cuisinart and set to puree.” I wouldn’t be surprised to see a reissue come with Bingo cards that replace numbers with instruments, regions, and genres. It would be the fastest game of Bingo ever.

– Arthur Pascale

World in Stereo is a biweekly column that examines classic and modern world music while striving for a greater appreciation of other cultures.

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