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5uu's - 5UU's & The Motor Totemist Guild: Elements CD (album) cover





3.52 | 16 ratings

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Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
3 stars 3.5 stars. "Elements" combines the forces of the bands 5UU'S and MOTOR TOTEMIST GUILD plus we get five guests helping out this nine member super-group. One of my biggest issues with this album is the vocals of Curt Wilson, and while he is an upgrade over the vocals from the debut, he pales in my opinion with the vocals that are on the four albums that followed this one. In fact to my ears his vocals just don't suit the music, not like Susanne Lewis and Bob Drake who would sing for example on the followup to this called "Hunger's Teeth". Heck I wish Emily Hay was the singer here instead of just playing her flute. Even instrumentally I feel this is a step down from what would follow.

The album is under 37 minutes and divided into two sections. "The Ends & Means Of Privileges" is the first section and the first track is "Ignominies" a top three track for me. I believe that's bassoon to start from guest Eric Johnson as flute and more join in. This is melancholic but it turns fuller before 2 minutes and this sounds really good before settling right down as the vocals arrive. I do like when the intensity rises each time although they are brief sections contrasted each time with the more mellow vocal sections. Love the guitar 4 1/2 minutes in.

"Imperfections" features lots of piano melodies early on in an Avant soundscape. A calm with vocals follows and this is experimental to say the least although it stays fairly relaxed overall. "Resentments" is uptempo with the drums and piano standing out, vocals before a minute. Horns before 1 1/2 minutes as the vocals stop. I like the determined sound before 2 minutes then the vocals return after 3 minutes. "Acknowledgments" is almost folky with piano, cello and vocals. I'm really not into this but thankfully it's under 2 minutes.

"Elements" is a top three for me. Piano and some depth of sound here in this relaxed start. Vocals join in quickly. Heavy outbursts will be contrasted with the mellower sections. Dissonant horns before 2 1/2 minutes and I like the drum/ piano section that follows. It's building then the vocals return. The second half of the album is called "The Distrust Of Merits" and it begins with "In Life's Hands". An interesting soundscape to start then we get multi-vocals a minute in as Kerman comes to the fore on drums. Catchy stuff. A horn before 2 minutes. Discordant piano 3 1/2 minutes in then the vocals return.

"The Artist" is my final top three and it opens with the piano and drums both pounding away. Then it gets interesting instrumentally while the vocals join in. These contrasts will continue. Great sound before 3 minutes including the bass. "Causes Of Merit" doesn't do much for me as piano and vocals dominate. "The Futility Of Oneness" is the longest track at almost 7 minutes but man I can't get into the vocals here. Instrumentally this is incredible though. The vocals come across as being lame to begin with and they will come and go unfortunately. Love the experimental sounds after a minute as the vocals have stopped. The vocals are back sadly at 2 1/2 minutes but man the final minute or so is really good as the vocals have stopped again.

The last four studio albums from 5UU'S are amazing and they really are the standard when it comes to American Rio music. I just feel that it took a couple of records for them to get to their unique sound.

Mellotron Storm | 3/5 |


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