Conceived while insanely prolific Warren Defever played guitar for shockabilly outfit Elvis Hitler circa 1989, His Name Is Alive embodies ambitious experimental dream pop infused with acoustic folk, dub-deranged gospel and funkified electro-jazz. "Like dating a star-crossed werewolf behind your parents' back," the Livonia, Michigan-based outfit's website declares -- though such colorfulness hints at something merely ethereal and forbidden. No, Defever and crew's atmospheric, dance-happy sound ups the ante on gypsy superstition with half the weirdness of Deerhoof, three-fourths the hip-swaying of Prince and all the sad hope of extreme vegetarianism. Highlighted by sweet-breath harmonies (credit a rotating chanteuse crew that includes founding vocalist Karin Oliver and "reincarnations" Andrea, Lovetta Pippen and Erika Hoffmann), His Name presents its first headlining American tour in over a decade. Still conjuring the Brothers Quay, still giving Tom Cruise nightmares, still touring in support of last year's Detrola, Defever and his band of minstrels present a rare and magical evening of freak-steady beats and social disorder. Costumes strongly encouraged.
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