Rusalnaia- Rusalnaia
(Camera Obscura Records CAM082CD)

From Aural Innovations #39 (May 2008)

"Rusalnaia is about honouring (some would say placating) the Rusalki - mischievous water nymphs capable of tickling victims to death - with song, dance, tree-decorating and wreath-making. Rusalnaia is what happened when Sharron Kraus and Gillian Chadwick, then neighbors in Fishtown, Philadelphia, became friends and decided to hounour the Rusalki in each other!"

THE SAILOR AND THE SIREN opens with acoustic guitar strum and the dual vocals. I really dig English folk music but this might have too many "thees"?!! There are some funny sound effects towards the end of the track, I usually love this sorta thing but they're somehow getting it wrong?!?! SHIFTING SANDS "the wind blows in and the wind blows out," umm, you don't say! Did I mention these women have exceptional vocal skills! Some nice fiddle and pennywhistle blowin' thing! KINDLING: Ooh, I kinda dig this one, real authentic English folk renaissance vibe! Almost poppy, but not! Yes, it's a very beautiful song! Electric guitar lead along with flute, then second loud electric guitar, pretty freakin' cool!! I take back all the nasty things I said earlier! RUSALNIA: Off kilter acoustic guitar riff, quirky vocalizations. Yes, very nice! Lilting loveley folk pop. I was kinda dreading having to review this CD after initial listens but now I'm really appreciating these two previous tracks! THE RAVAGER: Wow, this really reminds me of an old Austin band called Glass Eye! Nice simple guitar riff with nice vocals and lyrics! Moody but also tilted uptempo... nice poppy arrangements but also original! WINTER: More lilting English Philly folk. This one reminds me of the Roches! Yeah, I dig it! It's growing on me with repeated listens, aways a good thing! DANDELION WINE: More simple strummy pleasant acoustic with nice humming, and the English vocals and lyrics! Sounds a bit like a commercial for "Ye Olde English Inn" down at thee mall! I'd love to hear this with an experimental/space backdrop! WILD SUMMER: Dulcimer? strummage, cool, a recorder?! Yes, we're in Merry Olde England at the joust! But it's very nice and pleasant, yes even lovely! Nice outro song! Vocalizations along with sung lyrics, sounds like traditional music! They have a nice "way" of singing but it all begins to sound the same. It'd be nice to hear the vocals go out of this persona! The song gets more and more intense, long slow buildup, pretty cool, nice instrumentations... flute/recorder with uptempo drumming like an orgy breaking out at Ye Olde Festival and it's over.

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Reviewed by Carlton Crutcher

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