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Music Review: The Deadly Syndrome — The Ortolan

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The Deadly Syndrome’s debut album, The Ortolan, features a fun mix of eclectic sounds.

Kicking off The Ortolan is “Eucalyptus," a fusion of drums and xylophone. Other upbeat tunes include the Ric Ocasek meets Hall and Oates tune “I Hope I Become A Ghost.” The loud rock tune “Heart” reminds me a lot of Siouxie and the Banshees, and my two favorites of the CD, “Animals Wearing Clothes” and “The Ortolan,” both have a distinct Death Cab For Cutie/Postal Service vibe.

On the slow side, “Winter In You,” “This Old Home” and “Wolves In The Garden” are reminiscent of Neil Young, with the former two slow and dreamy, and the latter a Pony Up-Neil Young blend. There is a distinct echo of Echo & The Bunnymen in “Friends Who Don’t Go Out At Night,” and if you listen closely, you can almost hear Bob Mould in “Emily Pants.” The slow, Parisian-sounding “The Ship That Shot Its Self” starts off Simon & Garfunkel and takes a turn toward Barenaked Ladies along the way.

Rounding out the CD are “I Release You” and “Creature, Creature” both of which I can't quite put my finger on, but like nonetheless.

Being a California girl myself, I have a soft spot for these guys that took Los Angeles, Calif., by storm before moving on to Austin's fabled South By Southwest festival. Since then, they’ve played clubs large and small, performed live on the radio, and been signed with globe-trotting DJ Steve Aoki's Dim Mak label.

Both Will Etling and Jessie Hoy are University of California at Santa Barbara alumni. Etling, who plays guitar, and Hoy, who plays drums, accordion and keys, were both film majors who met at UCSB. Louisiana native Christopher "Crash" Richard lends his talents both vocally and on bass guitar, and New York City native and lacrosse star Mike Hughes plays keys, drums and xylophone. When Richard and Hughes were introduced to Hoy and Etling, The Deadly Syndrome was born.

The Ortolan — which is a bird, by the way — goes on sale on September 11, 2007.

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