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Published: 2013/05/18
by Brian Robbins

Cinema, Circus & Spaghetti

Royal Potato Family

Everybody – everybody – knows that old music reviewer chestnut of “so-and-so’s new album is the soundtrack to a movie that has yet to be made,” right? Well, now, get your head around this one, boys and girls: reuniting for their first studio album since 2006’s Sexotica , Sexmob has taken existing soundtrack music; reinvented it; and offer up a heaping helping on Cinema, Circus & Spaghetti so that you can watch your own movies INSIDE YOUR VERY OWN HEAD.

I kid you not. What Sexmob – trumpeter Steve Bernstein, saxophonist Briggan Krauss, bassist Tony Scherr, and drummer/percussionist Kenny Wollesen – has done here is take some of composer Nino Rota’s classic work that he created for the films of Federico Fellini and infuse them with their own jazzbo-punk psychedelia. (Fellini was quoted as saying, “My films, like my life, are summed up in circus, spaghetti, sex, and cinema” – thus the album’s title.) The end result is a dozen short reels of what Sexmob does best: hybrid fun that farts in the face of musical parameters.

Scherr ushers in “Volpina” with a lovely neck massage of his bass; six minutes later (after a rollicking bump ‘n’ grind down Bourbon Street that explodes into chaos) Scherr takes the thing out with a driving, unsettling pulse that’ll have you wondering what’s going to happen next. (What actually happens next is “Paprozzo” – two minutes of wild-ass hornsquall that settles into a cool tempo-shifting groove … and ends with Wollesen treating us to a savage working-over of his drum kit. Spoiler: brace yourself for the ending. You’ve been warned.)

“Il Teatrino Delle Suore” is built upon a solid-as-granite bass line, with the horns freely conversing and weaving patterns that you don’t even realize are there until they’re wrapped around you. “Celsomina” is a minute-and-forty-seconds’-worth of wishing you could play bass like Tony Scherr. “I Vitelloni” messes with you big time, coming on all raunchy and sultry before settling into a wholesome walk in the park. You know something’s up in “Toby Dammit’s Last Act”, but the smoky bass ‘n’ drums seduce you into wishing you were Toby Dammit – even if you are about to commit your last act. “The Grand Hotel” begins in a mad rush, but somehow evolves into a candlelit warm oil massage (how did that happen?); and listen to Bernstein’s trumpet get all snuggly with Wolleson’s cymbals about halfway through “La Strada” – delicate sweetness.

Yes, there is a theme here: Sexmob are habitual titillators, for sure – they can’t help it. Bernstein’s slide trumpet is one horny-sounding horn and when you rub it up against Krauss’ sax, things can’t help but get sweaty. Combine that with Scherr and Wollesen providing bumps, grinds, thrusts, tickles, and rubs – it can’t help but make gravy.

It won’t matter if you’re not familiar with Federico Fellini’s work – you can simply enjoy this as a killer Sexmob album. Put it on, set yourself down, and stand by to grin. The cool thing about watching movies in your own head is you know you always have a good seat.


Brian Robbins just made a fresh batch of popcorn over at

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