Album review: "Casata
Plenty of throwback artists conjure a vibe that makes them seem like they came from a different decade. The music of Brooklyn band DeLeon recalls a different century.
DeLeon draws influences from 15th-century Spain and old Jewish folk songs, all the while adding updated arrangements and an indie-rock aesthetic. The band stands alongside such groups as Devotchka and Gogol Bordello for their fascination with old-world music, although DeLeon lacks the weighty drama of the former and the punk energy of the latter.
The band's second album, "Casata," spotlights singer Daniel Saks's melodies, which are rooted in the ancient Sephardic Jewish tradition. Singing in a mixture of English and Ladino (a nearly extinct Judeo-Spanish language), Saks has a soulful tenor fit for a raucous Rosh Hashanah bash. And Amy Crawford's sultry lead vocals on "Yo M'enamori" offer a nice variation.
Such old-world influences allow DeLeon to provide an enjoyable detour from conventional indie pop, particularly on such songs as "Et Dodim" and "Blooms." But the band isn't a novelty act. It has mined a unique identity without coming across as a one-trick pony.
--Dan Miller, Oct. 7, 2011