When describing Drakkar Sauna to this vast network of absent friends, I called them uhh... ahh... kinda country folk bluegrass and also old-timey... but not old-timey in that annoyingly... uh... sentimental way? Perhaps my vague and loosey-goosey description was mistake number one. These guys are, I s'pose, all of the above, but also uniquely quirky. Now when I say quirky, I don't mean their sound and look screams, "Hey, I found this washboard at the Music Go Round in Roseville and now I'm gonna wear short trousers and suspenders and maybe even learn the banjo and hey, maybe 331 will give me a regular night on their stage and oh, how the masses of folk fans in Nordeast will hoot and holler and stomp their feet praise Jesus!"
With song titles like "Mongrel of a Halfman Slave Bitch," "There's Not Enough Tits on a Wolf," and "A Bird in the Hand is Worth Two Bush Administrations," the latter two of which they played Friday night, these guys don't take themselves that seriously. This separates them from the ranks of banjo-strummin' young hipster minstrels.
I'll describe to you their setup and you'll not believe a word I've just said. You've got two guys singing into one antique-looking microphone--one strumming an acoustic guitar, the other tapping a bass drum with one foot, a tambourine with the other, and alternating acoustic guitar with a little red chord organ. But listen to the lyrics--they wrote a song, "Ballad of the Unborn," about how their mother was pressured into getting a hysterectomy because her doctor was concerned with overpopulation.
These guys have co-opted this style, folk or country or bluegrass or old-timey or what have you, and instead of writing about their old country home or their old dead dog Blue, they've defamiliarized these genres with some really damned weird lyrical concepts. They're like, uh... They Might Be Giants meets old-timey. Did I just use They Might Be Giants to describe a band? Why yes I did. Fine. They're They Might Be Giants meets Alison Krauss. There, I said it. See, this is why no one should be paying me to write about music.
The thing that really gets me, though, are their tight harmonies. It took a lot of willpower for me to not harmonize right along with 'em at the Entry, but I was both too sober and in a room far too empty to be pulling that kinda business. I'm a sucker for some twangy, slightly out-of-tune vocals as long as the tight harmonies are there. Thus is country, no?
So look. I don't want to be that asshole who says you assholes missed a good show, but you assholes missed a good show. All of you. You and you and you. Y'all missed out. Listen to me, I'm the ultimate authority. I, of impeccable taste and style. I'm that gal who is won over by any country band that names one of its songs "Very Much Alone, Part 4: Oh Fuck, I'm Fucked, Fuck." Drakkar Sauna, you've got me hooked, ya fucks.
P.S. These guys do weddings.