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|1. Fire At The Pageant|
|2. Container Ship|
|3. Honda Civic|
|4. Oliver Stone|
|6. Back In The Dancehalls|
|8. Cus's Catskill Gym|
|10. Best I Ever Had|
|11. River Jordan|
A marker for the wilful oddness of Celebration, Florida is thrown down on opening track Fire at the Pageant: one part of its call-and-response chorus is carried by a deliberately atonal children's choir. This departure from The Felice Brothers' familiar template is not, as is made repeatedly clear, an aberration: it is followed by Container Ship, a gloomy noir which sounds like the soundtrack for a horror film set in an abandoned fairground, and Honda Civic, an upbeat New Orleans blues shuffle recalling the demented accordion-led outings of DeVotchKa.
Celebration, Florida is named after a Disney-built new town, an apparent attempt to bring into being the sort of apple pie-munching community mythologized in Disney's output. It looks and sounds approximately akin to Seahaven, the Potemkin setting for The Truman Show; as such, it serves well as an antithetical backdrop to lyrics as disquieting and dissembling as the music. Oliver Stone is not homage to the titular director, but a beautiful Tom Waits-ish, hazy remembrance of things past. Ponzi resembles Dylan only inasmuch as it evokes his (largely) misbegotten 80s output, upping the ante further with a shout-along chorus borrowed from Pink Floyd's Another Brick in the Wall and a keyboard part heisted from Visage. Almost inexplicably, it works.
Celebration, Florida is not an unalloyed triumph. Too much of it commits the common error of mistaking innovation for inspiration - Back in the Dancehalls and Cus's Catskill Gym in particular might have decamped the drawing board somewhat prematurely. At its best and last, however - the epic, funereal closer River Jordan - Celebration, Florida is an engaging diversion down a road which might be worth investigating further.
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