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Mayfair - Fastest Trip To Cyber-Town CD (album) cover

FASTEST TRIP TO CYBER-TOWN

Mayfair

 

Crossover Prog

3.94 | 9 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Aldebaran_Well
4 stars None of us expect music industry to be fair. In fact, it is impossible to count the good bands that got wasted due to poor promotion/management. Here in Progarchives, we have the opportunity to bring some justice back and pay well deserved respect to many artists for their past work. The fact that this the first review of such a good album, released 16 years ago, really makes me sad.

Mayfair hails from Austria. I got to know them by the late 90's, at that time the greek Metal Hammer magazine used to mention them very often at Prog metal specials, always including them between the most underrated bands. This album cannot be considered as metal, as there is not one heavy, distorted riff in the 53 minutes of its running time but I totally agree about how underrated it is. The quite melodic nature of ''Fastest trip?'' must have disappointed many Mayfair fans back then, who regarded ''Die flucht'' as their masterpiece. ''Die flucht'' is great and highly recommended too but ''Fastest trip to cyber- town'' is absolutely one of a kind, a true gem. Sadly enough, they disbanded after this.

Now, how can I put Mayfair's music into words? One first approach, considering styles, would be to describe the music as a strange mix of prog metal/rock with some kind of alternative rock, while light gothic, electronic and pop elements add color to this surreal canvas. Styles don't matter much though, because Mayfair's music is mostly about feelings and emotions that very often contradict one another. There is romanticism and there is irony, a deep sense of melancholy and humor, there is love and isolation, intellectuality and a soft caress of madness. If I had to put it in one word, always the first that comes to mind is: Bittersweet. A bittersweet taste that resembles nothing. One has to experience this kind of art to put a name on it.

The man mainly responsible for delivering all of the above is Mario Prunster and his weird, magic voice. I'm talking about a voice that is impossible to describe copy or imitate. His thin tone brings to mind similar pitched singers from bands like Savage Garden, Placebo or melodic Crimson Glory but no other relation with these guys. His mellow, theatrical, schizophrenic performance is the crucial factor that bears Mayfair's identity, the reason to love this music or not. He's not alone of course; his bandmates do a great job too. The wonderful rhythm section of Little and Motle provide a very solid and melodic prog background, along with clever loops and samples, very beautiful musicianship indeed. My respect and admiration to Rene's guitar work too, one of the few prog guitarists who use his instrument, not to demonstrate his playing skills but to fill with the right notes all the empty spaces and support each song's mood at the same time. A special reference must also be given to the guest musicians and especially J.Hanson Bertschler, whose synth/sequencing and piano work contributes very much to the final result.

The songs range from 2 to 6 minutes long. Their structure is quite simple, without long solos and instrumental parts, so Mario sings his cyber stories over normal, straightforward forms but this normality is discrete excellence disguised and many surprises hide within the songs. The opening ''Things will get better'' begins with a weeping guitar theme and ends up with a grunge solo combined with a chromatic sax. ''BG how was PG pure'' is built upon a flamenco pattern and ''Trip'' is almost insanely psychedelic. ''Waterproof'' is a deep, heartbreaking melodic song which can tear you apart and is a followed by a song entitled ''Wonderbra's driver'', that begins with a ''La bamba'' sample and turns out to be a cool, funky tune. ''The 90's'' is probably the album's darker track, ''I've never stripped in public'' is based on the cello and a classical piano, while ''Walking different'' sounds almost like new age! All these so different elements are tied up together by Mario's vocal lines in a way it all makes sense. The experience is almost like you're watching many short films in a row! (Those who've seen the movie ''Holy Motors'' may understand?) For me the best songs of the album is ''Cyber Wanda'', where upon a grungy, psychedelic riff in the veins of early Pearl Jam, a Philip Dick novel like tale unfolds and ''Bye, bye Mr. T'' where a didgeridoo intro leads the song into a sad marching groove, before it explodes in the second part into a heavy prog dynamite and a wah wah synth sends it to space!

The album flows perfectly throughout its duration. Unfortunately for me, in King Pest records first print, the lyrics are translated in German. So, when a Greek like me tries to understand every word sang by a fellow with a slight Austrian accent, well, don't expect literal analysis! The enigmatic cover is worth mentioning too, while it is not of particular quality, I've spent much time staring at it, wondering what the meaning of that smile is. The only thing I'd change is the production, which is quite narrow and thin. A better production would support the band's playing and arranging charismas in a much more sufficient way.

For me, this album is a 4.5 star and is definitely on my 1998's top 10 and my 90's top 100 lists. I would dare to give it a 5 but, since for now this is its only review, I don't want to seem like an exaggerating fan. The band is together again since 2010 and I hope they have a better chance this time, if the prog world starts to care about Mayfair. Still, don't take me for a fool when I say to you that this is a very unique and special album that is worthy of your attention, time and money.

Aldebaran_Well | 4/5 |

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