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Cicada - Hazmat Modine

by BAA Staff | Last Updated: 07.11.2011 |

Like the Cicada, underground for so long Hazmat Modine has emerged from touring and the studio with a veritable garden of sound, and they brought friends too!

©2011 Hazmat Modine, provided courtesy YouTube

Hazmat Modine is back with their second, HUGE release, “Cicada”, an international gumbo of big brass arrangements and vocal style.

Doos ya be horny lads and lassies, ‘cause this be one horny CD! The newest from HM picks up where their first effort, “Bahamut” (2006), left off, with more compelling lyrics and a big horn sound. However, this offering shows a definite “ownership” of the arrangements, sound and production and illustrates a maturation of their development process.

Where “Bahamut”, demonstrates the bands influences and their efforts to find their voice, “Cicada” fully showcases their creativity with this powerful blend of unique songs. Kudos to the  fusion and the international influence of musicians everywhere for we as audiophiles are benefitting!


At their core, the band features strong, stylized vocals from Wade Schuman and Bill Barrett. Supporting the music is the funky tuba stylings of Joseph Daley. Daley keeps the beat and rhythm alive with a sound reminiscent of a New Orleans Jazz Band but presented with a distinct, unique syncopation that is impossible to ignore. His efforts are gargantuan on the entire album and are big part of the bands individual character.

While the band clearly have their musical roots, they successfully work with contributing artists, Gangbe Brass Band, The Kronos Quartet and Natalie Merchant to expand their sound organically into an even larger sound. One of my favorite tracks, and unfortunately one of the shortest is “Cotonou Stomp” with the Gangbe Brass Band. This is a rocking, rumba soaked melange of brass that is infectious to even the tone deaf. It has a big sound and you wish for more when the song ends.

What sets this band apart is their creativity, their intelligence and their willingness to stir up a stew of musical largeness that keeps your leg bouncing, your hand in the air in witness and moves white men with no soul to find their rhythm.

Unlike so many CDs today, the collection of songs is a complete set, a complete thought. Only with the exception of “I’ve Been Lonely for So Long” does the band depart their style to offer a bit of “doo wap beach music” (for lackof better description) in this unlikely, but still excellent song.

With something for the fly fisher, the title song, “Cicada” (see video) brings the life and life-cycle of the cicada to life through spoken word and compelling soundtrack as the story completes itself in a subtle crescendo of vocals, saxophone and harmonica that illustrate musically the escaping of the insect from it’s shell to the freedom of flying through the trees.

The CD offers up wonderful musical inventiveness and experimentation with a number of eclectic instruments that lend an authentic folk texture. Though an American band the richness of our countries musical history and it’s international influence are clear and present on “Cicada”, giving it qualities that make it impossible to pigeon hole with genre.

This inspired, energetic music offers a much needed relief from the drone of pop pablum that continues to spew from the machine that is the music industry. I can only hope the internet continues to globalize music in ways that will directly benefit the bands that make the music.

Available:  Both Bahamut and Cicada are independent releases on Barbés Records available from the bands web site - http://www.hazmatmodine.com  - in both CD and downloadable MP3. (Buy direct and skip the middle man!). You can also sample the CD at the bands site. 


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Also available on iTunes, Amazon.