She'll Drive You Exotic

Life is a Car (Cope Records)
Thullabandulla Band

By David Lilly

They be in them Travel magazines, ya know. Those photos of/articles about alluring, exotic locales you'd gladly give up a lung (or a chunk of your savings account) to visit? Places that respire romance and inspire it. Those places are where the melodies and voices of Thullabandulla Band's Life is a Car can take you to if you're receptive to their seductive charms. And who wouldn't want to be?

Each time Danish singer (songwriter and musician) Thulla releases a CD, you can tell it's her, yet it's not quite the same as her previous release. Thullabandulla (a play on an old Swedish band's name; pronounced THULLAbandULLA) Band is her latest project.

As the moon shines on the sand of these musical beaches, it illuminates a cover of "Juanita," a 1970's hit for Hoola Bandoola Band, legendary in Sweden. Thulla is multilingual in more ways than one; "Juanita" is a duet (with bass player Guffi Pallesen) sung in Swedish, yet the music is a Spanish dance number with an erotic breeze whispering through. Given the chance, it will wash over and transport you.

The rest of Life is a Car is sung in English. "Drug Store," a peculiarly catchy favorite of mine from Thulla's second album, The Spirit of Yesterday, is revised a bit to fit tailor-made into the romantic atmosphere these musicians have created. Be not wary of the title, "Neckbreaking Ride." The ride is surely sexier than it is dangerous, luring dancing couples to create some steam.

Most of the time, romance is draped on Thulla's whispery singing and unusual diction, while her voice drips with exoticism. Even the cover art looks like beach sand. And as ironic as it might seem for music from Denmark, living in the roots of these musical locales are the sonic colors and moods of artists such as Les Baxter and Martin Denny, as well as Sade.

Given 50 minutes of this music, if romance and all things exotic comprise your vacation destination, you'll definitely want to take this CD along to be part of the soundtrack to - and enhance - your experience. And hey, if you're stuck at home, Thulla and her bandulla mates can help. Life is a Car can take you away like a musical romance novel.

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