CD Review: Happy Madness | Music | Hudson Valley | Hudson Valley; Chronogram
Pin It
Favorite

CD Review: Happy Madness 

click to enlarge The Gypsy Nomads, Happy Madness, 2010, E. A. Recordings.
  • The Gypsy Nomads, Happy Madness, 2010, E. A. Recordings.

When wizened punks and august hippies gather around campfires to reminisce in the Joe Strummer documentary The Future Is Unwritten, the orange halflight illuminates the striking similarities in their views, their histories, and even their physicality. In that same natural glow we find New Paltz gypsy-cabaret-folk-punk duo the Gypsy Nomads, whose new release, Happy Madness, percolates with stripped-down DIY energy, tribal rhythms, and earthy drama. Samantha Stephenson and Scott Helland—aka Frenchy and the Punk—are accomplished performing vets; she of the visual arts and dance, he of metal and punk bands.

In languages that veer from French to Czech to English, Happy Madness offers waltz-time chansons of yearning, intrigue and loss ("Magician and the Dancer," "Marionette"), hypnotically pummeling manifestos of life in the fecund substrata of neo-paganism ("It's OK," "Dark Carnivale"), and modal instrumentals that somehow evoke CBGB, Ennio Morricone, and the Port of Marseille ("Happy Madness," "Sombrero Cabaret"). This and more is delivered mostly with acoustic guitar, mallet-pounded drums, hand-held percussion, and cinematic, funny, deftly political, and erotic lyrics. Stephenson's autobiographical "Yes! I'm French" offers the witty line "When those jokers served up freedom fries / I saw Lady Liberty rolling her eyes," while the sexy romp "Make Out" is a brazen celebration of parking lot intimacy in which one can almost smell motor oil and Aqua Net. The Gypsy Nomads' melding of ancient archetypes with scrappy street-level attitude makes Happy Madness a lively must-have for punks, hippies, and everyone inbetween. www.thegypsynomads.com.

Speaking of...

Pin It
Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

Hudson Valley Events

submit event

Common Ground

Oct. 6-Nov. 13 — A photography exhibition by Ellen Lynch. The exhibit pairs separate photographs of...

View all of today's events

Latest in Music

Related to Music

  • The Moonlights Sunday Brunch
  • The Moonlights Sunday Brunch

    The Moonlights, a debut musical collaboration for families, is making the rounds at a series of live performances, including two of the upcoming Sunday Brunch at the Falcon in Marlboro.
    • Mar 20, 2017
  • Opera in Phoenicia Park
  • Opera in Phoenicia Park

    With its open-air format, where attendees picnic in the parks and watch the stars emerge during performances, and its $5 youth tickets, the Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice is the perfect place to share with children a love of music and theater, in a variety of styles.
    • Jul 25, 2016
  • More »

More by Robert Burke Warren

Hudson Valley Tweets