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Song of the Day: 2/6/09 Sgt. Dunbar And The Hobo Banned - A March...

 

A quick scrape for background on Sgt. Dunbar and the Hobo Banned turns up a comparison I both expected and dreaded: Neutral Milk Hotel. Sure, the legendary pioneers of crowded folk music leave their mark on "March Through Charles Mingus' Garbage Pile" - it's a horn-driven march, full with the rustle and rattle of loose percussion, marked with a particular intimacy that suggests an impromptu, almost accidental performance. What's new, though, is the grunt of a vocalist on the offensive: whereas Jeff Mangum is the melancholic brace that props up a flimsy emotional world, this collective is an advancing bulldozer bent on plowing that world over. Each angle produces its own effect, but "March..." is just that - an attack, a procession, a miniature accusatory riot. Sure, make the comparison - they themselves say that they're "Elephant 6 inspired" - but take Sgt. Dunbar and the Hobo Banned exactly for what they are: a swift, raw and rumbling entity.

- Phillip Taylor-Parker

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