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Stick Men - Owari (with Gary Husband) CD (album) cover

OWARI (WITH GARY HUSBAND)

Stick Men

 

Eclectic Prog

4.00 | 4 ratings

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mosesfusion
4 stars Live albums have come a long way, what with the capability to record a multitrack of the show right out of the soundboard and take it away on a USB drive, if so desired. This one barely even sounds live - if you'd told me it was a studio album, I might have believed you. Everything is crisp and clear and the balance is great.

I wasn't at the show, of course, but it sounds like it was a good one. I imagine the Stick Men are fun to watch and the addition of Gary Husband on keyboards is a nice treat. I guess the Stick Men compositions don't really *need* keyboards - lots of bands have been successful without them - but in this case it does add an additional dimension these songs didn't have before.

Tony Levin sounds great here, both on his bass playing and his occasional vocals. That's no surprise, I guess, Tony has always been one of my favorites, from the first time I saw him grinning his way through Yes tunes with ABWH back in the day. I enjoyed hearing Pat's acoustic drumming here after so much electronic stuff with King Crimson. Markus Reuter is equally impressive in his performance.

There are two King Crimson covers here - and a couple of references that I wouldn't call covers. Larks' Part II sounds great, with all the ferocity of the original and some nice stuff going on in the improv section. Level Five seems kind of weak compared to the original, almost like an "elevator music" version. Perhaps the former succeeds because there was only one guitar on the original, whereas Level Five is missing the Belew counterpart to Reuter's Fripp impersonation. I really liked the addition of the keyboards here, adding some nice jazzy runs to the spaghetti-fingers part.

Overall, the album was good and I'd listen to it again, but I doubt it will get tons of plays on my system. If you have nothing else by Stick Men and you'd like to check them out, this isn't a bad place to start. 4 stars.

mosesfusion | 4/5 |

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