Shantel Planet Paprika

Shantel Planet Paprika
Since breaking through to extra-European audiences a few years ago with the two volumes of Bucovina Club, Shantel hasn't been able to sustain his artistic momentum. That should change with Planet Paprika. This is far from a perfect record; he should really lay off the English vocals. Inevitably, he comes off as a latter-day member of Right Said Fred, with the ennui cranked up to 11 and utterly forgettable lyrics. It's a shame because almost without exception the music hits hard. He plies the waters of the 100-BPM range with an armada of massive horn arrangements. As usual, nobody can get more out of a tuba sound than Shantel, and it's an exclamation point wherever it needs to be. Once he's exhausted his "Planet Paprika" concept (which, as an euphemism for Balkan Beats, is a mildly intriguing idea), he turns the proceedings over to other vocalists, such as Canadian Brenna Maccrimmon, who do much better work over the same calibre of rhythms. The last half of the disc is particularly strong. (Essay)