Suspicion is the fourth album from acclaimed Sydney mavericks The Tango Saloon, following on from the self-titled debut released on Mike Patton’s Ipecac Recordings in 2006, Transylvania (2008) and Shadows & Fog (2012). While these three albums were a largely instrumental blend of experimental tango and spaghetti western scores (and everything in between), the new album is more song-based, featuring Stone on 9 out of its 14 tracks.
Bandleader Julian Curwin’s intention with Suspicion was not a dramatic shift from The Tango Saloon’s previous work, rather organically adding vocals to the band’s typical tango/western sound. There are some traditional song forms, but the vocals are also often treated just as another instrument, part of the tapestry, or creating wordless countermelodies. Think somewhere in the realm of Yma Sumac, Shirley Bassey, early Goldfrapp or late Portishead.
Elana Stone has been making waves on the Sydney music scene for over 10 years, starting off in a jazz vein and gradually moving to other realms including rock, pop, bluegrass and theatre – aside from her own Elana Stone Band she has performed with Bluejuice, The Cat Empire, Tripod, The Rescue Ships and All Our Exes Live In Texas. Performing on and off with The Tango Saloon since 2006, Stone became more integral after collaborating with Curwin on the song ‘In Black And White’, released as a single in 2013, with remixes from Tales In Space and Luke Dubber (Hermitude), and an amazing video clip directed by Julian Shaw.
The new album features ‘In Black And White’, plus second single ‘Don’t Close Your Eyes’, and ‘Smoking Gun’, a duet with Stone’s long-time collaborator Brian Campeau (The Rescue Ships, Green Mohair Suits, also a special guest with The Mango Balloon). The latter song has been likened to Nick Cave’s album Murder Ballads, on which he sang duets with the likes of Kylie Minogue and PJ Harvey.
The Tango Saloon has had an illustrious career thus far, appearing on Spicks & Specks in 2011, supporting Peeping Tom’s 2007 Australian tour, as well as sharing the stage with Mondo Cane at The Domain for 2012’s Sydney Festival. The lineup features some of the finest musicians in Australia, including members from Mr. Bungle, Darth Vegas, Baby et Lulu and Monsieur Camembert.
Suspicion is available now.