Pink Martini ‘Get Happy’ (Heinz/Wrasse) 4/5

Pink_MartiniSeattle based group Pink Martini have a widely eclectic approach to music and have endeared themselves to fans globally by combining easy listening flavours with quirky takes on world beats. It sometimes comes across as Manhattan Transfer meets Tinariwen, though no comparison can truly convey what is in store for the listener. This latest album is in fact the first studio in four years following on from 2009’s ‘Splendour in the grass’. While the retro take on world roots is a reassuring and comforting one, the jazzy orchestrations hint at Frank Sinatra. The 1950s style old world charm is typified by the opener ‘Ich liebe dich’ which is sung in both English and German and the polyglot nature of the vocals is quite bewildering, but mightily impressive. Japanese pop surfaces on ‘Zundohobushi’ while ‘I’m writing for you’ is possibly in Chinese and features the vocals of one Meouw Meouw who delivers in a high-pitched tone with swing jazz accompaniment. Latin mambo with a big band flavour has long been a staple of Pink Martini’s repertoire and on this occasion ‘Sway’ is sung in English with brass and percussion both prominent. Spanish language devotees will not be disappointed, however, with ‘Yo te quiero’ that features a classical piano and strings intro even if the vocals are more opera than flamenco! World roots purists will be foaming at the mouth at some of the interpretations here, but that is to miss the point. Listening to Pink Martini is meant to be a fun experience and if the versions are anything but authentic, they were never intended to be.