Album Review: Diablo Swing Orchestra – Swagger & Stroll Down The Rabbit Hole

Album Review: Diablo Swing Orchestra - Swagger & Stroll Down The Rabbit Hole
Reviewed by Richard Oliver

There are certain bands that take the concept of a genre and fire it against a wall out of a cannon. Diablo Swing Orchestra are one such band and ever since their inception in 2003 have been releasing albums that walk the tightrope between genius and insanity. The band really sound like no-one else with eight members and the inclusion of instruments such as cello, trombone and trumpet alongside guitars, bass, piano, synths and drums. They smash together styles and genres that shouldn’t work yet once you’ve heard the crazy fusions that Diablo Swing Orchestra concoct, you wonder why the hell it hasn’t been done before.

Swagger & Stroll Down The Rabbit Hole is the fifth album from the Swedish self-styled “riot-opera” band and sees the band release their most bold, ambitious and most madcap album so far. It sees the band expand on what they have done on previous albums whilst also pushing themselves into brand new territories with some crazy, captivating and just plain mind-blowing melding and fusing of styles, sounds and genres. From the tribal meets swing of War Painted Violence, the mariachi infused Celebremos Lo Inevitable which is sung entirely in Spanish, the folk/big band/musical mash up of Jig Of The Century and the Led Zeppelin meets gospel genius of Snake Oil Baptism.

Album Review: Diablo Swing Orchestra – Swagger & Stroll Down The Rabbit Hole

There is no stone left uncovered by Diablo Swing Orchestra and just when you think you’ve heard the wackiest moment of the album it gets upstaged such as on the 1920’s big band meets electropop madness/genius that is Speed Dating An Arsonist, the industrial metal/disco-pop fusion of Out Came The Hummingbirds and the surf rock silliness of Saluting The Reckoning. There are also some moments of calm and beauty amongst the kookiness and insanity such as the dark and dramatic The Sound Of An Unconditional Surrender to the cinematic and symphonic ballad that is Les Invulnéables.

Fans of Diablo Swing Orchestra will no doubt love this latest bout of insanity but anyone who is new to this band is bound to either be bewildered and/or impressed. The amount of different sounds heard throughout the album is impressive from swing, jazz, big band, industrial, progressive rock, metal, disco, funk, classic and countless more. Swagger & Stroll Down The Rabbit Hole is a very appropriate title for this album - “a metaphor for an entry into the unknown, the disorienting or the mentally deranging. Venturing too far down is probably not that great of an idea.” Possibly the craziest album I’ve heard in 2021 but also one of the most fun and impressive listens. Crazy and genius stuff.

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