The fourth album by this NYC-based jazz/funk/prog/punk unit, recorded last year in Minneapolis has echoes of Lounge Lizards, Naked City, Henry Cow and Amy Denio in their tightly played constructions. "Head Goes Thud" let's you know right off what you're in for. A slow theme on metal guitar and sax stops and starts for unison arpeggios, leading into a section of riffs that reminds of nothing as much as later-period Soft Machine.
Saxophonist Ken Thomas definitely has an Elton Dean sound, and during his short solo here the rest of the band stokes his fire until they rejoin in riff-land. Most of the tunes fit the same bill, including cut and paste rhythmic changes and odd meters galore. A favorite piece is "More More Bigger Louder Faster With Cheese" written by guitarist Ty Citerman, which has a lovely melody and quick playing by everyone, though not as quick as it's title may imply. "Carnivore" starts out in a sort of Sonic Youth mode until the sax and drums enter and we're in John Lurie-land. Bowed bass adds a nice melancholy moment before they kick in the unison riffs, stop for air, and then it's power guitar and melody leading up to Citerman's Henry Kaiserish guitar solo.
Kaiserish is the standout player here, and perhaps they'll feature more of his tunes in future. "Doppelganger's Requiem" somehow reminds of "She's so Heavy", until the horn enters and "Lucy Ferment?" is all riff-laden rock-out. They get a bit more abstract on the final tune "Brain Born outside of It's Head", with scraping strings and high-end reed squealing. This music might fit well with some as-yet-unseen cartoon, which one can imagine at times. One complaint is the sound itself, which is a bit clinical and clean, with the bass drum sounding like a click — this is a band that could benefit from some grit.
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