Exhilarating and earthy.
The three British plucked-string musicians of Les Triaboliques have two things that should make them the envy of everyone who listens to its debut album: They have decades of experience, and they have oceans of enthusiasm. Ben Mandelson was a founding member of 3 Mustaphas 3 (slogan: "Forward in all directions!") and went on to other multinational music-related things. Lu Edmonds has performed with punk and folk bands, playing guitar, saz, ud, and other Eurasian instruments. Justin Adams, a blues guitarist with an interest in North and West Africa, comes to Rivermudtwilight from a partnership with ritti player Juldeh Camara. The duo's Soul Science release was a highlight of 2008, and the strengths of that release are here -- the relish, the skill, and the sense of surging creation. However, its primary weakness is also here -- singing that is adequate but nothing more. Rivermudtwilight scoops up ideas from Russia on "Gulaguajira (I, The Dissolute Prisoner)", Jewish Eastern Europe on "Hora Anicuta Draga/Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood", and post-rock on "Phosphor Lane", as well as the Middle East, British trad, and so on. Sometimes the band plays it straight, and sometimes it mixes things up Mustapha-like when "Hora Anicuta Draga" segues into "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood". It's exhilarating and earthy.