DeVotchKa, How It Ends

A quirky landmark in gypsy punk, this unusual album from a unique band is easily unlike anything you've ever heard before, and that's not just for having more accordion music than a Weird Al-themed bar mitzvah. The band is at its best when it's at its most pensive; witness the heartrent wistful moans of Nick Urata on "Dearly Departed" and the almost jangle-pop "Too Tired," along with the beguiling instrumental "Charlotte Mittnacht." Their stunt styles are less solid, though: I rather like the crazed Romany klezmer feel of "Lunnaya Pogonka" but it gets a little old on "Such A Lovely Thing," and I don't care for their mariachi moments in "We're Leaving" and "The Enemy Guns" (complete with white guy Spanish) really much at all. (Not to mention the odd "Viens Avec Moi" which defies categorization in a bad way.) Still, the album wins points for fearless creativity and general listenability, though the star of this variegated pageant is undeniably the beautiful title track's soulful meditation upon futility, recapitulated to great effect in the closing "Reprise." Given that, I'd have to say it ends well. (Content: no concerns.)