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"Beyond Good and Evil"
Clouseaux, 2006

     It’s hard not to like the mash-up of hi-fi styles Clouseaux offers up with each and every new album. With Clouseaux’s music you get surf twang, cocktail cool, haunting exotica, and a healthy dose of Latin lounge. Their latest album Beyond Good and Evil builds on the intricate mix of musical styles that was heard on their last album Lagoon. Where as Lagoon was built more on a foundation of Exotica, this time around they work off more surf guitar and space-age pop influences (much like their self-titled debut album). That’s not to say they skimp on the Exotica. It’s there in tunes like “Paraiso,” “The Monkey with the Golden Fez,” and “Jungle Witch.” But Beyond Good and Evil has an undercurrent of martini sophistication running through the tunes. Take for instance the beautiful mod-like ballad “Catalonia.”
     Being based in Houston, Texas, Clouseaux seems to be smack-dab in the middle of east coast and west coast influences. Their music is urbane and cool. Experimental but grounded. It is the middle point between, say, Combustible Edison and Don Tiki. Beyond Good and Evil, like other Clouseaux albums, is a wonderfully complex joining of classic styles—Exotica tango? Cha-cha surf guitar? Tijuana Brass prog rock? This juxtaposition of genres only helps to enhance the playfulness of the album—which is also increased by the use of vintage movie and television clips at the start of most tracks. 
     Clouseaux boldly go where other lounge and exotica bands fear to tread. This strange band from Houston blends up all sorts of classic retro styles, coming out with something that’s fresh and inventive. Some retro albums seem more like museum pieces taking a measured and stoic approach to the music. Beyond Good and Evil is nothing like that. It is a living, breathing, amazing musical creature.


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