The Tiger Lillies – Brothel To The Cemetery

BrotheltothecemeteryKrauts have a lot of important artistic real estate, most of which (as Blixa Bargeld pointed out) they don’t have access to, because of what that culture produced. Thankfully it’s not lost, but mined by others. Tom Waits is the main American excavator. His three operettas with Robert Wilson – The Black Rider, Alice, and Blood Money – are Weimarian stomps. Up until a week ago, I didn’t realize that England has their own cabaret dwellers: The Tiger Lillies.

Like Waits, The Tiger Lillies sing about nasties and oddballs. Like Waits, the singer is idiosyncratic (in this case, a high cockney falsetto). But theirs is a nihilism that includes a despise of their audience – Waits’s songs are weird, but the Lillies seek to offend. Moments of tenderness are vicious and ugly (and more frequent than raucous numbers). This is not “uneasy listening.” It’s decadent fun – the sort you hate yourself for liking, regardless of how well crafted it is.
Rating: B

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