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tr-Ond and the Suburban Savages - Demagogue Days CD (album) cover

DEMAGOGUE DAYS

tr-Ond and the Suburban Savages

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

4.13 | 12 ratings

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TCat
Forum & Site Admin Group
Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team
4 stars There seem to be countless Scandinavian bands out there that put out sad and melancholic music that it has almost become a genre in and of itself. This is not the case with Suburban Savages album "Demagogue Days" however. It's been several years since their last album "Kore Wa!", and there have been a few line-up changes since then. In that album, there seemed to be more of a unfocused sound that might spring from the fact that the band was trying to work in too many styles like Zeuhl and punk which almost created a haphazard feeling even though the album itself turned out pretty decent.

For their 2021 album "Demagogue Days", the band seems a lot more focused on a style that quite effectively melds bright poppy music with complex progressive styles. Remember the days when you could whistle, hum or silently sing those complex songs from Gentle Giant or Yes? Well, this album seems to have hit on this quite well. While the band seems to have moved a bit away from the avant-pop music from before, they still retain an impressive level of complexity while making their music bright and cheery sounding. It's a surprisingly great combination on this album that may surprise you quite pleasantly.

You'll pick up on the sophisticated pop style on songs like "Aroused and Confused" where electronic and traditional rock instruments alike work together to create some interesting timbres throughout. Also, with three vocalists, you'll hear a layering that creates an almost choral effect in the 2nd half of the track that will remind you of Pure Reason Revolution. This will also come to play in the title track, which is simple and complex at the same time. You'll notice that the band does not use standard song styles, yet the melodies are simple enough to be memorable, yet complex enough to keep things interesting.

It's not all bright and cheery, however. "Iconoclast" starts off with a solid rhythm section supporting a darker synth melody which eventually slips quite comfortable into a very Gentle Giant-like melody where the vocalists participate in a very tricky interchange. In the midst of all this, they still leave space for some resolute instrumental sections and a great guitar-led section to end it all off with. Styles also meld together in the instrumental "Krystle Fox" as a fast moving, arpeggio-like tonal percussion supports a slower moving guitar melody creating an interesting contrast. Other atypical instruments are brought in and given time to play around with the theme before things get heavy as everything is brought together.

"Under Mirrored Skies" is also a highlight of the album, utilizing vocals in a different way by allowing individual singers to create lyrical sections that have their own melodies. After a few long verses, the synth and guitar move into a call and answer section which builds in tension and heaviness as the guitar pounds away and the synth flies off into the stratosphere.

This album quite effectively combines simplistic with complex and that is what makes it the most interesting. This is accomplished both by vocal and instrumental sections and it all melds together quite well. The band's aim seems to be finding that fine line between accessible and complex, a line that has been found before in some of the classical prog bands of yesteryear, and a line which The Suburban Savages find here, yet they also make everything relevant and modern so there is no mistake that they are developing their own style and finding their own niche.

TCat | 4/5 |

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