Beauxregard is clearly band that looks to the past for musical inspiration. But figuring out just what era is informing the band's music is where things get tricky.

By comparison, their excellent 2008 EP, When Balloons Were Sleeves, was a relatively straightforward '80s New Wave synthpop homage, despite the operatic song structures.Gryphoemia is even more ambitious, and finds them trying on different musical styles like costumes, mixing and matching accessories like an imaginative child playing dress-up with a trunk full of vintage clothing. On the title track, rickety upright piano straight out of a Wild West saloon meets machine-like beats and a bombastic electric guitar lead. Two tracks later on "Intro/Caroline," Morricone-inspired timpani percussion and minor-key guitars are incongruously juxtaposed against dance-punk beats; this odd combination of elements is repeated on "Tradition." Meanwhile, "High Noon," with its showdown storyline, cements the album's Western theme. And, throughout the release, singer J. Quincy Romine's warbly Bowie-meets-Curtis croon takes on so much vibrato that he approaches Broadway melodramatics.

It's a fascinating effort, though. And a worthy one, too—even if the blending of eras at times borders on novelty.

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Jesse Hughey
Contact: Jesse Hughey

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