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Hectic Watermelon - The Great American Road Trip CD (album) cover

THE GREAT AMERICAN ROAD TRIP

Hectic Watermelon

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.67 | 4 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

progismylife
4 stars Warning: may contain an Elephantaphone

The liner notes say the album is about travel, so the best atmosphere (theoretically) is to listen to this while travelling! And that is exactly what I did. I went to Wales for a week and had ample time to appreciate this album while travelling around the country. The album is split into three sections, I: The Great American Road Trip (tracks 1-4), II: Subterranean Suite (tracks 5-8), and III: Homeward Travelers (tracks 9-11).

The first track starts off mellow (compared to the rest of the album) and has a nice guitar melody to it. This gives the listener a false sense that the rest of the album is going to be like this. But it is not. The second song hits you with Jerry Goodman's spectacular violin and John Czajkowski's guitar. It is extremely different to the first tack as it gets heavy at times and almost metal-like (almost, not exactly). The guitar and violin are opposites. The guitar is heavy (some of the time) while the violin is quite pleasant and light (most of the time). The other tracks are spectacular and sometimes strange (as seen by Layover in Hamemet which is quite peculiar as it is sounds of cars driving by as if you are by a road with plucking of what I assume is a violin string). The drumming and bass playing is quite good and adds a great back beat to Jerry Goodman's violin and John Czajkowski's guitar playing.

This album does indeed reflect the thought of travel as the songs smoothly transition from one to the next to make this feel like one song. This idea of travel is so well reflected in the music that I even forgot I was listening and had to open my eyes more than once to reassure myself that I was not going anywhere but stationary in a comfortable chair enjoying music.

All in all this is a great album and is highly enjoyable if you enjoy jazz rock fusion with a touch of heaviness at times. I enjoyed it fully and it is a great addition to my album collection. But it is not a masterpiece. It lacks a certain something that makes a masterpiece. Maybe it is Layover in Hamemet. and its unusual sound that is strikingly different from the rest of the album. 4/5 stars.

Oh you may be wondering what an elephantaphone is. Well I did some research and found this direct from John himself (from a post in The Real Allan Holdsworth Fan Forum).

"It is technically in the family of instruments called vibrating reed membranaphones like the squeaky little Quica from South America. Mine is from Home Depot and you take about a 5 foot long 4" PVC pipe and sand one end really smooth. You then take a heavy-duty party balloon and cut off the top so that it can be stretched over the PVC opening with the nozzle tugged over to the edge. You want to find a small cylindrical device like a marine bilge pump filter or similar attachment to make a mouthpiece. Stuff the object into the nozzle of the balloon to keep it open when you blow on it. The last step is to take a heavy-duty rubber band and stretch it around the rim of the balloon that is now stretched around the PVC pipe to keep it from coming off. When you blow on the nozzle, you will be delighted by a very loud, low and nefarious tone!".

Enjoy this great jazz rock/fusion album from Hectic Watermelon. It certainly can be hectic at times!

progismylife | 4/5 |

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