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Where's The Nine - Desensitized to Insanity CD (album) cover

DESENSITIZED TO INSANITY

Where's The Nine

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.70 | 12 ratings

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Vibrationbaby
4 stars FUSION OF A DIFFERENT FEATHER

Toronto, Canada based duo Where`s The Nine`s Desensitized To Insanity debut could have turned out to be a full-blown exercise in campiness for music critics to eat for dinner by virtue of it`s clichéd and un-original instrumental configuration which had me saying to myself here we go, not another copycat band. My first big hurdle with the work was the zany cover that seems to depict the two members Barry Connors and Dean Watson in straightjackets with their name Where`s The Nine scratched in in red blood. Red blood? This came off to me as rather odd because I was expecting a Roger Dean-like cover depicting some sort of sureal celestial backdrop with space unicorns, stars & galaxies and expected another art-rock take-off with keyboards & drums. So what`s with the straightjackets?

Whoa !

After the first listen I realized what these guys were all about and found that the work, despite being a bit clinical at times, immediately acquired a rather light-hearted aura about it which was established in part by the cover and the tonque-in-cheek track titles. They issue a warning on their myspace that : Children Left Unattended Will Be Sold To The Circus and even play on their moniker on track 3 which is entitled Half Of Eighteen ! Another track entitled Lethargic Waltz is anything but lethargic! So, on the contrary, these guys take no prisoners, take no bows but have a whale of a time making music that is immensly interesting to listen to because you don`t know what`s coming next. In summation their sound can be described as a big bang of every fusion jazz band meets every progrock dinosaur band from the seventies right up to the present day with the most common camparison I`ve heard so far being made to Planet X. If comparisons and generalizations such as these aren`t drawn I`m pretty sure these guys would deem themselves to be the mother of all musical miscarriages.

The whole beauty and irony here is that they are completely different from anyone they might be compared to. But this is not to say that someone who is a fan of The Mahavishnu Orchestra or ELP will not appreciate their cunning fusions and variations of themes and motifs of these bands and others. The opening track, appropriately entitled A Rather Odd Tribute, borrows from each of the afore mentioned, so we get know right from the onset where they`re coming from musically. Fusion and more fusion. Fuse fuse fuse. Moving through the work elements of Bill Bruford`s first band, FM, Rush, King Crimson and freak knows who/what else surface and get thrown into this witches brew as Connors and Watson throw more curves at us than a major league pitcher. Doses of smooth fusion laced with doom metal power chords, speed of light guitar runs a la McLaughlin, frantic machine-like synth rhythms abound as well, and when everything seems to be going totally mental and off kilter they back off and come to some resolution and then continue on so as not to give the listener complete cardiac arrest. Drummer Connors is not merely along for the ride here either. He focuses a lot on quirky rythms rather than showboating and his percussives are as much a part of the compositions as are Watson`s busy keyboards ( and guitars! ) not to mention some cool subtle effects.

There are many things which are put in peril with an all instrumental presentation, the most notable one being compositions beginning to sound like one another. This does not occur here and I thouroughly enjoyed the disc from beginning to finish without once saying to myself OK that`s enough of that. With all it`s changes, stops and starts the music makes it all the way through unscathed. Continuity is remarkably well maintained which is one of the big suprises here.

With their versatile musicianship and clever nods to the past this musical frankenstein sounds excitingly fresh and should appeal to fusion freaks of all freak ages in all freak zones. 4 stars here.

Vibrationbaby | 4/5 |

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