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McLuhan - Anomaly CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.22 | 48 ratings

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Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
5 stars MCLUHAN were a short lived band based out of Chicago who put out this one incredible album brimming with adventurous ideas and humour. It's clear these young College students were very intelligent and talented but I'm most impressed with the "out of the box" thinking when it came to their music and live shows. David Wright the trumpet player was the leader of this group and we also get sax, flute, clarinet, prominent bass, synths, organ and piano besides the usual instruments. We also get some guest tympani and xylophone. Man this is such a refreshing album to listen to and to think it was released in 1971. The music at times recalls KING CROMSON's debut and early ANEKDOTEN but also Frank Zappa and early CAMEL. The blasting horns do bring CHICAGO to mind at times. For me this is more of an Eclectic release although I do get that this has a Jazz flavour.

"The Monster Bride" is as David Wright mentions in the liner notes "A series of effects more like a film score than a song, it mixes elements of terror, comedy and beauty. Science marches on." It opens with floating organ as piano, bass and a melancholic horn joins in. It changes after a minute with piano, drums and a horn leading the way before kicking into gear before 2 minutes as the horns blast. It turns Zappa- like with xylophone before another change arrives with dissonant horns and a driving rhythm. Organ too before it turns surprisingly haunting with multi-vocal melodies before it kicks back in. A calm before 5 minutes with flute, a beautiful section. Reserved vocals a minute later reminding me of early KING CRIMSON and ANEKDOTEN. Love this stuff. The vocals stop and it starts to build around 7 1/2 minutes with horns, bass and drums standing out. Nice. Silence before 9 minutes as we get a funny monlogue with sound affects. Priceless! It kicks back in before 10 minutes with plenty of horns.

"Spiders(In Neals Basement)" gets it's title from a neighbour's basement that they used to rehearse in. Again David Wright's thoughts. "This piece combines a bizarre Latin feel with American Dixieland." Man this has such a groovy sound to it early on as the vocals and horns join in. Catchy stuff. Nice bass before 1 1/2 minutes as we get an instrumental section. The guitar starts to solo over top then the organ and horns take over. A calm follows then that American Dixieland vibe kicks in. Piano only 3 1/2 minutes in then it kicks back in with vocals and that Dixie flavour. That groovy sound from the start is back before 5 minutes with vocals. So good!

"Witches Theme" is led by horns and drums early on before it settles as reserved vocals join in. This reminds me of early CAMEL. Some spacey synths along with organ arrive before it kicks back in as themes are repeated. The guitar starts to solo over top 3 minutes in then synths replace the guitar before it kicks back in. Organ to the fore to 6 minutes in then it settles with flute leading the way, nice bass too. The vocals and that laid back sound return at 8 1/2 minutes before it kicks back in to end it. "A Brief Message From Your Local Media" opens sounding like the start of a movie before relaxed vocals, a beat, bass and floating organ take over. It's very KING CRIMSON and ANEKDOTEN-like. Then after 4 1/2 minute the music stops as we get a monologue about Henry Ford and the assembly line. A shuffling beat, bass and flute take over then horns as it builds. Vocals and plenty of horns before 7 1/2 minutes before a brief circus-like melody ends it.

This is such a charming recording that recalls the early days of Prog but with Jazz elements. And those intelligent lyrics and ideas show that this young band were wise beyond their years.

Mellotron Storm | 5/5 |


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