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Man On Fire - The Undefined Design CD (album) cover

THE UNDEFINED DESIGN

Man On Fire

 

Eclectic Prog

3.98 | 15 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

johnobvious
4 stars Man on Fire is a two-piece American act. The Undefined Design is their second album and is self-produced. Jeff Hodges sings and plays keys while Eric Sands is on guitars and bass. Three different guests handle drums and David Ragsdale appears on 3 tracks with his trademark and well traveled violin. Sands is first and foremost a bass player as he has a very unique style that often carries the music. Adding the fact that they would enlist Adrian Belew to handle guitar duties on the follow up to The Undefined Design makes me conclude Sands would rather be on bass.

On this effort, Sands plays a lot of fretless bass and it really is the focal point of a lot of the songs. The guy is an underrated player and he really uses his bass to give the songs a lot of their main thrust instead of having it just be a backing instrument. When the guitar makes an appearance it is often hard edged but other times is often just for accentuation and really is not often featured prominently. But this is still high energy and often bombastic music. Hodges in not really a conventional keyboard player, either. There aren't any majestic keyboard passages. He just works to get a lot of "wall of sound" (for lack of a better phrase) type effects to compliment that ever present bass. I guess you could call the effect prog-funk, as there is a funky vibe throughout. The drummers throw in quite a bit of percussion effects outside standard drums. They even dip their toe into an electronic feel in a few songs. Hodges has a nice throaty and full voice that fits in very nicely.

This album if for the people who like good groove with modern production and an unconventional approach. Sands really leaves his stamp with his bass but the effect of all that fretless succeeds even though you get the same tone throughout a lot of the songs. No epics here, even the 3-part first song is broken up and feels like 3 separate songs. Defined as eclectic here, a case could be made for heavy prog or even crossover as well. This certainly is not a true-blue prog lover's dream but is a high energy, funk inspired effort that should please many. I'll go four stars based on what it is, not what it is not.

johnobvious | 4/5 |

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