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Rosin Coven 

Menagerie

Wednesday, Jun 29 2005
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Rosin Coven is so Berkeley. With its penchant for puppetry, glamorous stage garb, ultra-exuberant theatricality, and endearing quirks (including a curious etymology fetish), the self-proclaimed "World's Premiere Pagan Lounge Ensemble" is a flamboyant performance troupe above all else. Which makes listening to its act sans the bright lights and bubbly drinks of the concert hall no small challenge. It's not that the songs on the big band's third CD, Menagerie, lack musicality (the dueling cellos, corpulent trombone, and operatic vocals provide plenty of meat on the bone) or imagination (picture Kurt Weill and Sister Sledge at Buckingham Palace). Indeed, the rollicking rhythms and hummable melodies of "March of the Modern Pagans" and the high-drama beat of "Beyond the Crimson Planet" could very well spur devotees to strut Cat in the Hat-style around the home-entertainment room. But the group's shtick tends to lean toward histrionics and a kind of earnest eccentricity that are best experienced live.

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Sam Prestianni

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