Pink Martini don’t like to do things by halves...
Jamie Fisher 2007
For those of you not yet familiar with their work, Pink Martini are a twelve piece ensemble from Portland, USA. As a group they have gathered quite a following over the past decade and built a reputation not just for quality of musicianship, but for their desire and ability to elegantly tackle a wide range of worldwide musical styles; from latin to classical, jazz to retro pop and beyond. Pink Martini don’t like to do things by halves though, so while the instrumentalists have mastered a healthy array of world music techniques, lead singer China Forbes has learned to sing not just in English, but in French, Italian, Croatian, Spanish and more!
With all this variety Hey Eugene! feels like a kind of musical travelogue through space and time. The very first track, “Everywhere”, takes us back to the golden age of vintage Hollywood romance, and the rest of album then continues on this exciting journey. One minute you could be dancing the night away in a Brazilian samba hall and the next minute embroiled in a retro Japanese film noir. The travel theme is even central to one of the songs “Dosvedanya Mio Bombino”, a Latino-Russian hybrid that I actually find a little awkward to listen to, but vocally it’s microcosmic of the way I hear the whole album, so nonetheless a very interesting piece.
Laced with an unusually high degree of musical sophistication, Hey Eugene! continues to demonstrate the obvious talents of Pink Martini and carries on where the equally accomplished album, Hang On Little Tomato, left off, but this time with a little less flab and a little more production sheen. If that’s a good thing or not I shall leave you to decide.