Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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The Sway Machinery

  • The House of Friendly Ghosts, Vol. 1: Featuring Khaira Arby [JDub, 2011] B+

Consumer Guide Reviews:

The House of Friendly Ghosts, Vol. 1: Featuring Khaira Arby [JDub, 2011]
This strange record would mean less without the bound booklet written by guitarist-vocalist, cantor's grandson, and transcultural seeker Jeremiah Lockwood. And it would mean rather less than that without the three songs by Saharan diva Khaira Arby, whose own Timbuktu Tarab is more consistent but less gripping. The band comprises Lockwood, a drummer, and three horn players who add major oomph to Arby's stately, impassioned showcases. Camels grunt, children trill, women chant. And then there's Lockwood, a deeply pretentious guy who sometimes puts his transculturalism over, but don't count on it. Thank Allah that Arby contributes some backup vocals as well. Thank Jahweh too, I suppose. B+