Piñataland

Here’s a collection of review excerpts about Piñataland‘s “Hymns for the Dreadful Night”:

“Their new album Hymns for the Dreadful Night…their hardest-rocking effort to date, their least opaque and by far their best…the driving rhythm section of Ross Bonadonna on bass and Bill Gerstel on drums give the louder songs here a mighty majesty – there are plenty of warmly inviting string-driven pop bands out there, nobody who attacks those songs with as much verve as Piñataland. Violinist Deni Bonet is a one-woman orchestra, showing off sizzling Balkan, country and classical chops, frequently contrasting with Dave Wechsler’s pensive, rain-drenched piano and organ. Robin Aigner, who lights up many of these songs with her harmonies, knocks one out of the park with her lead vocal on the lush countrypolitan shuffle Border Guard….” Lucid Culture

“4 1/2 stars (out of 5) Tremendous.” Jeffrey Sisk, IN TUNE, Daily News, PA

“…well-crafted, absolutely gorgeous, memorable chamber-pop songs….wonderful tunes… If you’re a fan of Americana, accordions, fiddle, or just plain beautiful things that aren’t wispy and sentimental all the time (!), “Hymns for the Dreadful Night” should be on your shortlist.”  Stephen Carradini/Oklahoma Gazette

“Piñataland’s lyrics and melodies are the kind you find yourself humming days after you last heard the disc.” Justin Vellucci, Brooklyn Rail

“First of all, let me say that it takes some real right-side brain activity to think of a concept like this, but then to actually write lyrics and arrange music around this concept takes pure genius. That is what this record is, pure genius.” ‘Rebel Rod” From Under The Basement

“So this is what it sounds like when The Decemberists, The Pogues and Gogol Bordello are put in a blender.,,,this is a rare and exceptional record which, from conception to execution, is nothing less than total perfection.” Scott Baxter, Americana UK

“Hymns for the Dreadful Night is the best ‘live’ album recorded in a studio format. Pinataland has been around for a few albums and, based on the strength of Hymns for the Dreadful Night, I’m going to need to give [their other albums] a listen.” Dw. Dunphy, Popdose

From left to right, Bill Gerstel, David Wechsler, Robin Aigner & Douglas Stone

“Modern day orchestral Americana with a Celtic twist. Stone and Wechsler are superb wordsmiths and the music is mostly joyous with just a hint of danger lurking underneath, more often than with a jubilant violin riding on top.” Hans Werksman, Here Come The Flood

“The music is a fascinating mixture that serves the lyric well, and it is a tribute to the band’s talent that it all holds together and makes a powerful impression.” Oliver di Place

“Taking on big topics in a historically correct and poetic fashion, with plenty of violin and Eastern folk rhythms, makes a comparison to The Decemberists unavoidable. Things get more distinctive, however, when you consider Pinataland’s male and female harmonies and their immediacy, something that the well-rehearsed and stagy Decemberists lack. New Yorkers Doug Stone and David Wechsler also screenwrite and run a Chicago theatre company, and their excellent cover of Laurie Anderson’s “Hiawatha” highlights their hip and intelligent direction. Jazz critic Stanley Crouch provides a spoken intro to a song about a mink that crawls through the graves of the famous, no doubt the first song of its kind. Plenty of smart well-crafted music here.” The Big Takeover

“Without a doubt, this ranks as the most rocking and most accessible (to those who didn’t major in American studies) Piñataland record.” Tris McCall, Star Ledger (NJ)

“Hymns for the Dreadful Night reveals these raconteurs to be incredibly gifted at their craft.” Brice Ezell, popmatters

“Hymns For A Dreadful Night is compelling whether you’re a student of history, or just love a good tale.” Wildy’s World

“Piñataland is easily one of my top ten musical discoveries for 2011. They have created a mixture of nearly festive, orchestral-folk (also a touch of pedal-steel), with genius literary/historical references. If this sounds unmanageable and chaotic then you might be correct if not for the amazing results.” Heroes of Indie Music

““Party band” probably wouldn’t be the first way you might consider categorizing Piñataland. But that’s what they were. On their new album Hymns for the Dreadful Night, the chamber pop band’s rhythm section really amps it up – interestingly, this time out, drummer Bill Gerstel and bassist Ross Bonadonna kept the groove more low-key, sometimes gracefully ornate, probably just as well considering that they were playing Barbes. Violinist Deni Bonet stole the show with her fiery, gypsy and celtic-flavored lines when she wasn’t building an orchestral swirl with the guest accordionist, while bandleaders Dave Wechsler and Doug Stone joined voices vigorously with Robin Aigner.” New York Music Daily

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