Death And Vanilla – The Tenant album review
Polanski Marmite re-scored by Malmo minimalists.
Described by Roger Ebert as “not merely bad, but an embarrassment”, Polanski’s 1976 psychological horror film The Tenant saw the controversial director himself as a Kafkaesque paranoid, in drag, hallucinating that his neighbours were playing football with a human head. Its soundtrack, by Philippe Sarde, was never likely to compete with Mary Poppins in the sunlit jollity stakes. It’s a heroic choice of cover version or “reimagining” for Malmo-based trio Death And Vanilla, then. Emboldened by their 2013 reading of Vampyr, they recorded this live at a Spanish festival screening. Inevitably the results are haunted and haunting. But not just as in “a bit forlorn”. As in so creepy you’ll keep glancing nervously over your shoulder. With minimal fuss, and sounding anything but vanilla, the unit, using unsettling vintage instruments (is that a Mellotron we hear before us? A Moog behind us?), murmur up a quiet unease somewhere between Angelo Badalamenti and Krautrock with the “rock” part replaced by “stuff which is generally intended to put the willies up you”. Spooky kicks, though you wouldn’t want to live here.