Rosin Coven are a San Francisco based collective of male and female artists/performers who describe their band as "the world's premiere pagan lounge ensemble." And indeed, there is something alchemical at work with their beautiful music. There is a strong jazz influence which is blended with classical, cabaret, and world music influences to create something that is at once stunning and strange. It produces a pleasant but vaguely unsettling effect like a strange dream, that you stumble into a private club in a foreign city to be confronted by a troupe of gypsies and witches playing medieval cabaret music. The strangeness is all the more effective for being so subtle. The vocals swoop and soar in an exquisitely stunning fashion like a beautiful bird of paradise, all the while complimented by the able musicianship (in fact, several of the band members also play in orchestras). Although they have more a jazz sound than the likes of Rasputina or The Dresden Dolls, they do share their love of theatrical performances and colourful stage costumes and a blending of old and new traditions. As well as playing at the post-apocalyptic festival, The Burning Man in Nevada, Rosin Coven also founded The Edwardian Ball --- a grand costume ball/festival held yearly in San Francisco in honour of eccentric illustrator Edward Gorey and now in its eighth year. You can be sure if this fabulous band did have a menagerie you would probably find all manner of weird and wonderful beasts in there creating an eclectic collage of noise with their calls, cries, growls and howls. The end result is a bewitching and beguiling album that could be the lost soundtrack to some bewildering fairytale movie.
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN MAY 2008.