An eclectic survey of recent recordings
SEPTEMBER 29, 1997:
"Pity the poor accordion, the Rodney Dangerfield of musical instruments. Used mainly as a
comic prop or object of
derision, its function as an expressive and versatile mode of musical delivery has been
obscured over the years.
Although several alternative bands have restored some credence to the accordion in recent
memory (most notably
Brave Combo and They Might Be Giants), the true champions for the cause are the West
Coast-based octet Those
Establishing their domain as a solid hybrid of traditional pop, polka, and the novelty
factor (à la
"Weird" Al Yankovic), Those Darn Accordions! show the world just what an
accordion can do on
their third release, No Strings Attached. Initiating a steady progression with their
effort (a cassette-only release titled Vongole Fisarmonica) to their first full-length
CD on Flying
Fish (Squeeze This!), a sense of discovery and development continues on No Strings.
Armed with a battalion of six accordions backed by a guitarist and drummer, Those Darn
Accordions! wiggle their
way through a collection of 12 original and very witty songs, along with two inspired
cover tunes. One hasn't really
lived until hearing the dynamic accordion-driven version of The Who's "Baba
O'Riley" (bonus points for choosing
this one over the obvious Who number, that salacious ode to accordion playing,
"Squeeze Box") and octogenarian
Clyde Forsman's yearning and world-wise take on Rod Stewart's "Do Ya Think I'm
Sexy?" Highlights from their
own repertoire include "Mothra," "Them Hippies Was Right," and
In addition to their extensive musical chops, Those Darn Accordions! also have a powerful
visual impact as well,
featuring a trio of slinky sirens among their number (Big Lou, Suzanne, and the airborne
This is one recording filled with good-natured humor where the novelty doesn't wear off,
because there's a wealth of
musical integrity behind it. Those Darn Accordions! are blazing a trail down a path that
most fear to tread, and
they're doing it with panache and aplomb. No Strings Attached is a perfect introduction to
this unique band with an
even-more unique sound, and you'll never hear an accordion quite the same way again." --
David D. Duncan
Factsheet Five 19-May-97
"Every year San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf hosts an accordian festival, but those who can't can't
wait can just check out the band Those Darn Accordians. The band features a guitarist, a drummer,
and six people who sing and play the according. They a bizarre mix of music which blends polka,
swing, pop, and good ol' rock'n'roll. On this, their second album, they play 12 original and very
funny songs with a couple of cover toons thrown in for good measure. The pick hit has got to be the
Who's "Baba O'Riley," but Rod Stewart's "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?" comes in a close
second. I also liked "Deathbed Confession" where the hoaxter photographer confessed to
faking the famed Loch Ness Monster photo. Not just for "Weird" Al Yankovic fans, but for
anyone who enjoys a fun, lively album."
Ink Nineteen New Media Magazine
"The accordion has always had an image of social incompetence, and many a gag has been made
about the torture of parentally enforced accordion lessons. However, anyone who's ever picked up an
accordion will testify the instrument's challenge not only are those things heavy, but you gotta
squeeze them in and out while performing complex maneuvers with all ten fingers. Anyone who is any
good on accordion gets my instant respect.With six accordion players, a bassist and a drummer, Those
Darn Accordions could probably just get by on concept and visuals alone. Failing that, they could
toss in a couple of goofy covers ("Baba O'Riley" and "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy") and still sell albums
on novelty alone. However, the bad has talent of its own, arranging some musically interesting
pieces, and coming up with a raft of witty lyrics "Them Hippies Was Right" and "Following the
Puppets," the latter being a most eloquent credo of the TDA Way. Very cool and listenable."
- Anton Warner
The Island Ear
"It looks like "Weird" Al Yankovic may have some company under the category of wacky accordion
music. Those Darn Accordions are the polka rock funmeisters with their accordion driven mishagas.
They bounce around between traditional polkas ("Ramune"), rock classic covers ("Baba O' Riley"
you've never heard it like this!) and a strange mix of rock/new wave/accordion music. You haven't
lived until you've heard "The Hotsy Totsy Polka." A refreshingly enjoyable diversion. A (If you
don't take your music too seriously.)"
The Glass Eye, February 1997 (Ohio)
"Paul Rogers, Those Darn Accordions' musical director and chief songwriter feels, "the accordion
had been making its way back to the mainstream along several different roads Cajun, Tejano, rock
but there it is being used to add texture to already existing idioms. TDA is pushing the boundaries
a little further by listing the guitars and horns and other keyboards and finding those textures all
on the same instrument." With six accordion players, plus drums and bass guitar, I think TDA are
accomplishing this feat. I was really fired up to review this one, being an accordion fan, but I
came away a little disappointed. Simply put, the band possesses a sense of humor that gets in the
way of some of their music. They sing songs about sci-fi movies ("Mothra"), The Loch Ness Monster,
death bed confessions, 60's visionaries ("Them Hippies Was Right") and the freaks ("Hamsterman".)
The bad thing: a lot of their humor isn't that funny, and it takes away from their music. I don't
mind a little good humor, but this is the sophomoric kind that's run into the ground quickly. They
do a great job on the two covers on this CD, "Baba O' Riley" by the Who and Rod Stewart's "Da Ya
Think I'm Sexy?" but they sing so damn much they might as well be called Those Darn Voices!
Fortunately not all of the album is soaked with humor and Roger's ideas sometimes surface."
- Ed Shimborske, Jr.
Stereo Review, February 1997
"America's finest (only?) eight-piece postmodern accordion group returns with another set of
satirical originals and less-than-respectful covers. You haven't lived until you've heard accordions
doing the synth parts in "Baba O' Riley". Inspirational verse, from an ode to the twin aliens in
"Mothra": "I've got to find those singing pixies / Even if they're in their sixties."
- By S.S.