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The Black Swans 

With the Curtains and Talons. Friday, January 12, at the Beachland.

Like all captivating folkies, Columbus' Jerry DeCicca doesn't settle for rehashing "Kumbaya." His shivering, low croon --like a reflective singer-songwriter submerged in a vat of olive oil -- is an acquired taste, which is made all the more difficult by his lyrics: dark ruminations on the questionable wisdom of chasing skirts.

Though DeCicca's solo gigs are usually acoustic affairs, his work with the Black Swans finds the guitarist and vocalist cutting loose and turning up the volume a wee bit -- even though the accompaniment primarily consists of accordion, violin, and brushed drums. And on Sex Brain, the band's latest, the music gets rather bawdy. While DeCicca's vocals definitely betray a love for Dylan, the band's nearly anthemic melodies can be traced back to his Springsteen fixation. When it all comes together (see "Dark Plums"), the Black Swans groove like a pack of hippie love children dumped on the porch of an Appalachian orphanage.

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