The Hellblinki Sextet
Eau Claire Volume One

Dark Carnival

it's actually 3 people, and yes, it's as weird as it looks
Apocalypse Theater + Harsh Reality + The Hellblinki Sextet .
Thursday July 31st . The House of Rock . 9pm . $5 . 838-0158 . .

A dark carnival awaits the listener in Hellblinki. Although officially titled The Hellblinki Sextet, at the time of this press, the unit is a three piece.  Expect the unexpected from this Asheville, N.C. congregation. Visions of circus sideshows and sly-eyed shysters abound, given personality by the wide range of eclectic instrumentation employed by the Hellblinki crew. Glockenspiel (Google it), melodica, accordion, toy piano, knicknacks, and devices are all played and/or beaten to craft the stark, haunting folksy music.  Think Tom Waits but with a gypsy female singer or a more stripped down pirate version of Sleepytime Gorilla Museum.  This is the soundtrack to the old country, yet compromised with modern stains. It's easy to envision the elders of some culture, familiar, but not your own, gathered around celebrating a wedding, birth, a sacrifice to the previous gods worshipped in secrecy.  Pass the cup and drink from this potion of illusion and try to make sense of the familiar as it's warped and twisted into an uneasy dream that's hard to shake.  Their newest album, Oratory, captures a unique if not disconcerting band always willing to throw the listener a curveball with a knife sticking out of it.  For instance, naming the opening track "The End."  While the music is an odd pill, it's the evocative lyrics and vocal stylings of Valerie Meiss that will be the siren's call that lures listeners into the rabbit hole from which there is no turning back.  -Michael Bushman