Songlines review Sikoses
That difficult second album proves a doddle for Doumani
The Nicosia-based trio Monsieur Doumani have returned with a truly sterling effort on their second album. It features reworkings of traditional Cypriot folk songs and new compositions; an ambitious and altogether rewarding project. Clocking in at just under an hour, this album covers a vast amount of ground.
From the wistful opener 'Gongs' to the serene closer 'Good Tidings', Sikoses never once loses your interest and is consistently strong, both lyrically and sonically. The title-track is based on a traditional melody, and its music complements the sentiments of the lyrical content perfectly: lilting brass and mystical harmonies conjure up the sense of loss following the end of a carnival. The couplet 'sycophants and zombies would scheme all day/ and drink hot blood from sundown to dawn' is not the kind you hear every day, and the astute social criticism throughout - notably on 'That's What the Kitten Wants' - helps make this an outstanding work.
The centrepiece, an eight-minute opus named 'Black-Eyed Girl', showcases the musical talents of the trio, with magnificent slide work by Antonis Antoniou on the tzouras (lute), a beauteous flute refrain from Demetris Yiasemides, and haunting vocals from Angelos Ionas. This is a wonderfully conceived album, from a masterfully accomplished trio.
ALEX DE LACEY