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Fred Frith - Allies CD (album) cover


Fred Frith



3.72 | 11 ratings

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3 stars Allies is a competent and accessible RIO album that could serve as a good appetizer for the darker matter that gets released in this style by bands such as Guapo or Univers Zero. Fred Frith creates a intriguing collection of slowly developing chamber rock songs with meticulously constructed rhythms.

Looking at the credits, the album has come a long way since its initial conception in 1989. It hasn't been released till 2004 but due to its warm organic sound, it still sounds fresh and crispy. The music was originally played and improvised to a drum computer. Later on the machine drums were replaced by live drums, but maintaining the persistent pace of the music. The rhythmic backbone is one of the most remarkable aspects of this album. Frith never resolves to predictable time-signatures. Every drum and snare seems to come at the point where you least expect them. The off-beat effect isn't certainly something I could dance to.

Tracks like Small Mercy 1 and Nenad come close to a Zeuhl sound, but mostly the classic instrumentation (violin, cello, sax) creates a reflective type of chamber rock, slightly minimal at first sight, but with intricate patterns and slowly building melodies.

While the album is solid throughout, the music appears much studied. It misses some bite and spontaneity to push it to 4 stars. This might not bother everyone of course, but just don't expect the intensity of Guapo or Univers Zero.

Bonnek | 3/5 |


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