Walter Sickert & the Army
of Broken Toys
Soft Time Traveler
Outside of the Dresden Dolls and Amanda Palmer’s subsequent solo career, the light typically doesn’t shine as brightly on a certain breed of Boston band: the theatrical misfits who don’t fit tidily into a particular category.
This town is flush with groups more attuned to Tom Waits than Aerosmith, musicians who refuse to color within the lines and end up with a sound best experienced on an acid trip. To name just a few: Jaggery, Beat Circus (and whatever other project Brian Carpenter helms), and Reverend Glasseye (now based in Austin, Texas).
Walter Sickert & the Army of Broken Toys are an exceptionally motley crew centered around their cosmic ringleader, described in the press materials as a “conduit for art of any kind.” Sickert presides over a ragtag group of musicians who play everything from ukulele and accordion to mandolin and lap steel to flute and, um, “skeleton keys.”
Recorded at Watch City Studios in Waltham, “Soft Time Traveler” is their first album as a full band. It’s aptly named. This is a dense listening experience, with 18 songs fanning out over one relentless hour. As expected with such a diverse cast, the record is all over the musical map. There are moments of distorted beauty (“Glory Box”) and bluesy swagger on par with Jack White (“Devil’s in the Details”). Ballads bleed into rockers; acoustic love songs give way to psychedelic fever dreams.
Nearly the only constant on this kamikaze collection of songs is the band’s firm belief that there’s no other way to make music. (Out April 16)
Walter Sickert & the Army of Broken Toys will perform at Brighton Music Hall on Saturday, with opening sets from Ruby Rose Fox, the Field Effect, and the Rationales starting at 9. Tickets: $14. 800-745-3000, www.ticketmaster.com