The Invincible Czars
Reviewed by Audra Schroeder, Fri., Aug. 7, 2009
The Invincible CzarsFortissimo (Future Banana Replacement)
To call the Invincible Czars' latest an "odyssey" would be violating rules of decorum, but damn if they don't wind us up for one. Woodwinds and strings still serve as the Czars' backbone, but there's a decidedly heavier vibe here, and more rabbit holes to fall down. The local sevenpiece renders 10 songs in about an hour, but the orchestra feels thicker on album number three. The transition of "Willie Poland vs. the Black Keys" into "Deeksha" shows two very different sides of the Czars' experimental-classical hybrid, their Danny Elfman-esque grasp on each quite impressive. "The Troll" starts off promisingly enough for a song about a troll, but by the end it sounds like they're wandering through the land of Zappa, and therein lies the rub. The Czars have gotten more muscular, embraced their inner metalheads while holding on to their classical roots, but they still sometimes lose their direction running through the labyrinths.