Many bands and solo artists hesitate to debut new material on tour before the new CD is out, preferring to wait until after the release date, when fans have had a chance to hear and get familiar with the new music.
Caravan of Thieves is not one of those bands. In fact, a number of songs on the Connecticut-based group's latest CD, "The Funhouse," were part of the group's live shows for months before they were released.
So fans that had previously discovered the unique musical stylings of Caravan of Thieves already had an idea of what to expect when "The Funhouse" arrived last April. Others are getting to hear "The Funhouse" material as the group tours this winter.
What they're experiencing is a group that uses acoustic instruments - with Fuzz (he keeps his last name a secret) and his wife, Carrie Sangiovanni, on guitars and vocals, Ben Dean on violin and Brian Anderson on bass (and all four members chipping in on percussion created with all manner of pots, pans, buckets and other household items) - to create a festive sound that blends swinging gypsy jazz with highly melodic pop and plenty of sweet boy/girl vocals.
The songs and performances on "The Funhouse" certainly give a sense of the spirited fun of the band's live show.
The CD is based around an amusement park motif - a fitting metaphor for the Caravan of Thieves' vibe - but it also shows that Fuzz and Sangiovanni have developed into fine songwriters who write seriously memorable hooks and vocal melodies.
The music stands up just fine on its own, but in concert, Caravan of Thieves presents an experience for all of the senses. Dressed in their turn-of-the-century outfits (as in 1900, not 2000), the foursome rocks, dances and even acts out certain aspects of its songs on stage.
It all makes for a highly interactive show.
"I think some people think we're going to get up there and it's like going to see a Broadway play or something," Fuzz said in a late-February phone interview. "It is, first and foremost, a musical concert, and we're up there playing instruments the whole time. So it's like there's only so much of it that can be acted out or choreographed. We don't really choreograph anything. But we move around a lot, and we have little things that we play against each other, and certain songs, certain sections of songs, call for more things where we might be speaking. We're certainly more visual and interactive and theatrical than say your typical acoustic band or bluegrass band."
The band self-released a debut CD, "Bouquet," in 2009 and followed that with a live release, "Mischief House," in 2010.