Libra Stripes this is not.This is why music is so hard for me now. Bands always letting me down. I mean, this is fine, but I doubt that if I’d heard any of this on the radio like I did the band’s previous album that I’d rush out and listen to it exclusively over a weekend.
Something’s different. The band is still laying down some decent funk, but the cutting, enticing, other-ness (I’d never think this was an African ensemble) of what they had on Libra Stripes is all but gone. They find it here and there, but too often (e.g., “Maruken,” “Octagon Pt. 2”) they kill a killer head by jamming for too long without any inspiring solos.
“Maruken” would be at least a Like if it were half as long, which would give the album four at least Likes before getting to the execrable “Octagon, Pt. 1,” which, given its name, you feel like maybe the band kind of knew should be cut. Two other likes, “Octagon, Pt. 2” and “Fairweather Friends,” aren’t solid throughout and nearly beat themselves down to a Meh.
One of the biggest differences is the sound. Everything sounds far more reverb-y. Combined with the way the songs are more jammy and less composed, I’d say the band was going for more of a live feel. And I always hate when bands try to do that…just be awesome live when you’re live but when you’re doing a recording you want to sound good on record.
Someday I’ll truly love a band again. Until then, though, I feel like I’ve just got to survive on one album stands.
Like: “Liam Rides A Pony,” “Le Hustle,” “The Itis,” “Octagon, Pt. 2,” “Fairweather Friends”
Meh: “Maruken,” “El Fuego,” “The Mendo Mulcher,” “Shadow Lines”
Dislike: “Octagon, Pt. 1”
Song Notes: After the jump
- Liam Rides A Pony –
- Maruken – way too long
- Le Hustle –
- The Itis –
- Octagon, Pt. 1 – so slow and boring. last 30 seconds are better but can’t save it
- Octagon, Pt. 2 – like the inverse of Part 1 where it’s awfully good but the last 70 seconds, a big dramatic slowdown, are complete unnecessary.
- El Fuego –
- The Mendo Mulcher – whereas the previous track is almost Like (as is the next track), this is like the definition of Meh, like it really doesn’t need to exist but it’s completely inoffensive
- Fairweather Friends – the pre-chorus, if that’s what it is (it’s right before the first guitar solo) is sweet, but it takes too long to get there. Also has a great end, but the horns playing in synch are too big band.
- Shadow Lines –