It’s a Halloween miracle: As soon as I invoked the “deftly verbose” lyrics of The Old Ceremony’s Django Haskins in a recent record review, he appeared in a puff of brimstone bearing “Strange Birds,” a spooky treat in lyric-video form. The song will hit streaming services at a yet-to-be-determined time in the next two weeks. 

With minimal means—mainly an acoustic guitar figure that seems to be picking a path through broken headstones and a shiver of tambourine—Haskins narrates the tale of a plague doctor in the morbid Victorian manner of Edgar Allan Poe. 

There’s the avian theme, of course, and the lyrics are dense with internal rhymes, their meter closely circling the trochaic octameter forever associated with “The Raven.” This is a world in which eyes are not merely lensed, but lenséd, a pungently incensed world of crimson flasks and taloned fingers and spider-infested houses. 

Call it The Fall of the House of Django, which calls to mind a doggerel of our own: Turn the lights low if you dare it, but it’s just music; don’t be scaréd.   

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