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Celebration: The Modern Tribe

Celebration: The Modern Tribe

Release Date:2007
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By Michael Byrne | Posted 10/10/2007

At this point, you could place Celebration's Katrina Ford in a band with a preschool class playing kazoos and tambourines and the result would still be pretty damn special. With the Gossip's Beth Ditto sidelined on the tabloid circuit, Ford's only real competition in the lungs department is the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Karen O., and we're even starting to have doubts about that. On The Modern Tribe--traveling between gut-soul, breathless croons, and tender murmurs--Ford inspires awe and chills in ways that should have all of indie-land wiping the drool from its collective chin.

Of course, the remainder of the Celebration trio--drummer David Bergander and keyboardist Sean Antanaitis--are their own power combination, mining latter-day post-punk for it's juiciest scraps and making songs that buck trend at every chance. Yeah, the twitchy high-hat and rolling tom drums of "Pony" recall the Rapture (et al.) circa 2002, but the wailing, cymbal washed-out finale screams "fuck you" loud enough to reach back to 1982. More prevalent are songs like "Heartbreak," a good-bye kiss of descending synth lines, spare piano, and Ford, breathless and wrecked, singing over and over the word "heartbreak" until it becomes less a word than the thing itself. Expect to hear plenty of love for "Hands Off My Gold"--TV on the Radio's Kyp Malone makes a sly appearance, and it already has a Simian Mobile Disco remix, however awful, doing the blogosphere rounds--a vaguely Iberian oddball of a track memorable for the comets of sax and Malone and Ford's separated-at-birth vocals that arc through the track. The best moment of the album, perfectly bucking its own Ford-dominated steeze, is the grand chorus ending of "Tame the Savage," as she disappears into the crowd to sing along, "see, the world has just begun/ to tame the savage hearts/ of men." Powerful, yes, but we maintain that Ford could tame them all by herself.

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