Brave Combo

Texas Platters

Phases and Stages

Brave Combo

Box of Ghosts (Rounder) For 24 years, Denton's Brave Combo has proven you can successfully engage in musical anthropology without checking your sense of humor at the door. Appropriately, the group's latest has its origins in a late-night TV infomercial for an album of familiar classical themes. Modern reinterpretations of classical themes are nothing new, of course, but Brave Combo's learned kookiness is always sure to take the familiar to new places. Starting with a rollicking polka version of Mozart's "Rondo a la Turca," Box of Ghosts plows through 15 compositions, maintaining an eclectic approach without compromising the timeless melodies. Satie's "The Gnossienne #3" is given a futuristic disco treatment reminiscent of the nonstop-dance medley discs you find at Asian markets, while Ponchielli's "Dance of the Hours" (aka the music behind Allen Sherman's "Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah") is recast as a cha-cha. Doing Chopin's "Waltz in C Minor" as a jazz waltz creates an air of dizzying tension that would be perfect for a car-chase scene through cobblestone streets. Combo leader Carl Finch contributes a soaring, romantic vocal to the group's salsa version of Dvorák's "Slavonic Dance," which is second only to their (relatively) straight reading of Puccini's "Musetta's Waltz" for sheer wedding-day beauty. Box of Ghosts ends energetically with a live twist version of "Habanera" from Bizet's Carmen that captures the inherent party atmosphere of a Brave Combo show. This probably won't move as many copies as K-Tel's Hooked on Classics series, but who knows what might happen if Brave Combo got their own infomercial? (Brave Combo plays Threadgill's WHQ Saturday, June 7.)


A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Ingebrigt Håker Flaten’s Village Songs
Den Signede Dag (Record Review)

Michael Toland, Jan. 26, 2018

Texas Platters
Mother Falcon
Good Luck Have Fun (Record Review)

Doug Freeman, Oct. 23, 2015

More by Greg Beets
Will Courtney Summons Seventies L.A.
Will Courtney Summons Seventies L.A.
The rootsy popsmith takes the production reins in a West Austin duplex

Sept. 21, 2018

Texas Platters
Freedonia (Record Review)

Aug. 24, 2018


Brave Combo

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle