On his latest album, The London Book of the Dead, Steven Coates, the man behind the Real Tuesday Weld, goes deeper and deeper into the past. Contrary to what the title might suggest, Book of the Dead is less of a morbid affair and more of an exploratory one. Coates peruses various styles and eras, taking choice elements from each and blending them into palatable morsels that fit right into today's progressive styles.
On "The Decline and Fall of the Clerkenwell Kid," he pillages flavorful accordions to create dance flourishes; the result is a saucy concoction. The same accordion is updated for a another dancey turn on "I Believe," here helped along by some upbeat horns. "Kix" borrows from Cole Porter's "I Get a Kick out of You," and Coates sticks with the retro groove for a moody number that conjures images of flappers. Smoke-filled and scratchy, "I Loved London" evokes the town of years gone by far more than the futuristic city of the present. The London Book of the Dead gives yesterday's music its due, and in the process brings an elegance and refinement to the sounds of today.