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World Music CD Reviews Europe

Babylon Circus

By Jill Ettinger
Published July 18, 2008

Dances Of Resistance
Mr. Bongo

With cultures now constantly colliding to form new traditions and sounds, the prospect of keeping up with all the peculiar evolutions in music can be a tough one, but it’s a chase that’s often well worth the effort. A case in point: France’s 10-piece outfit, Babylon Circus, whose third full-length release addresses the human condition with politically charged, and often humorous, arrangements that span multiple musical genres. Heavy reggae and ska riddims pulse throughout the album, but they’re artfully interspersed with moments harking back to accordion-heavy French chanson, punk rock, jazz, and big band styles. Singing in both French and English, lead singer David Baruchel pushes the lyrics with Manu Chao-like urgency on tracks like “Dances Of Resistance” and “Warlord.” Consistently entertaining and surprising, Dances Of Resistance plays like the amped-up soundtrack to a Parisian merry-go-round from the future.