Julian Curwin ‘The Mango Balloon, Volume 4’


(ROM013)  Released April 20, 2017

CD / Bandcamp / UK / US

Julian Curwin’s The Mango Balloon is a stripped-back chamber version of The Tango Saloon, with a lighter sound bringing lounge, exotica and jazz to the larger band’s tango/western blend. Volume 4 features special guest Matt McMahon – one of Australia’s finest keyboardists, Matt is known for playing a wide range of music with the likes of Vince Jones, Phil Slater and Joseph Tawadros, as well as his own ensembles.

  1. The Final Scene
  2. Smoke
  3. Assassins
  4. Quiet Room
  5. Sunbird
  6. Danse Macabre
  7. The Return
  8. Drifter
  9. Blue Lagoon
  10. The Lone Gunman
  11. Midnight
  12. Ghosts
  13. Bloodstone
  14. Little Fanfare

Review by Norman Records (23/5/17)

“If anyone can do this, you can!” Well… I believe that challenge has been accepted, Clint. So Mr Curwin takes a step or two back — and then a step sideways — from his other day job as an experimental tango-ist (with The Tango Saloon) to compose and perform on this set of Morricone-esque instrumentals. As Curwin does so, he seems to have scored an alternative Aussie Western; one which has nothing to do with Nick Cave nor any of his Bad Seeds.

Curwin leads his sextet of able players on guitar, piano and sometimes melodica. ‘Assassins’ takes us on a horseback detour through the streets of Buenos Aires with its pavement accordion and clip-clopping hooves (or probably coconuts). On ‘The Return’ they trot proudly into a Mexican town (wait, are they lost?) to a solo muted trumpet and 3 / 4 time bandoneon. The guitar and double-bass on ‘Drifter’ would not be out of place on a Tarantino soundtrack. Throughout this review, just picture me wearing a poncho and with a piece of straw protruding through my clenched teeth.

It’s pretty good — not bad — and never ugly. That’s all I’ve got.

%d bloggers like this: