Review: Dalton Deschain & The Traveling Show – Freakshow

dalton-deschain-the-traveling-show-roberta-cover
The single appears to be coverless. Here’s the album it comes from.

Releasing a single seems like the most bloody-minded, pointless, and commercially absurd medium to make any music on nowadays, so naturally, we broadly approve of such mid-level falutin. How many people should there be in a band? Four seems sensible, though trios can be equally ferocious and there’s something very pleasing about drummers employed to sing and keep rhythm with all four limbs at once. At the other end of the scale there are the ensembles which have so many members it’s difficult to be sure that one of them isn’t just their mum checking up on them. Successful practitioners – let’s choose Funkadelic as an example – are a force of nature, an almost scientifically impossible brew of expression which has no right to work en masse, yet is as urgent and fluid as could possibly be imagined. I hope George Clinton’s mum never did check up on him.

DD & TTS are a five-piece. The extra person is a singer, though lead is performed by Dalton himself, who also plays guitar. What charlatan would have the brass neck to pitch up and hobnob in such a brazen and superfluous manner? Granted, it is a female voice to counter Dalton’s attempt at edgy rebellion but honestly, such elbowing onto the stage in the 21st Century is distasteful in the extreme.

So, anyhow, the song had better be a revelation. Of course it isn’t. Perhaps slightly reminiscent of a budget Alabama Three, it smacks of a song used to advertise something not very good on television, the mental image being of a 51 year old marketing bod, proudly polishing the buttons on their jacket as they uncover exactly what da kidz will like tomorrow, without them knowing it. The main refrain, “I was born a freak”, is as cringe-worthy as you might expect, coming out of an adult human’s mouth, whilst an attempt at a circus atmosphere is entirely based on a clichéd calliope motif, as ‘played’ on a tissue/comb combo.

Only three other tracks to save it – a bit of a lost cause relying on b-sides to resurrect a single but we live in abject hope. Track two is called Interstitial (Don’t Cry, Mein Liebchen). Would you like me to tell you all about it? Exactly.

The whole affair is completed by Different Constellations, which, with no shame, they also include a radio edit of. Let’s think about that for a moment. Hmm.

It has a far more relaxed tempo, a bit like one of those duets Paul Heaton performed with his rent-a-female chanteuses in The Beautiful South. Execrable, everyone, execrable. I daren’t check but there’s possibly a black and white video for it too. He says “fuck” at one point, like rebels do. I hope his mum isn’t checking up on him.

DAZ LAWRENCE

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