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Temple Of Switches - Four CD (album) cover

FOUR

Temple Of Switches

 

Crossover Prog

3.92 | 14 ratings

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tszirmay
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Along comes the opportunity to chart new musical discoveries, accepting to listen intently and review something completely unfamiliar, when asked nicely by an artist looking for some much-needed exposure. Tenk Van Dool is a fine Dutch name but works out of the USA, as a mainly a two-man show, as Tenk skillfully handles a rather superb and reptilian bass, as well adorning powerful keyboards, guitars and vocals, while drummer David White completes the roster. The music is punchy, crisp, somber, thoughtful, brash and rebellious. This is their fourth album and quite the revelation I must say, as anything led by a nasty bass is often cause for some intense celebration. What also strikes me upon my initial go through, is that the material is quite original in that no apparent or overt influence jumps to the fore, occasionally heavy, suddenly jazzy, often dissonant, never boring or trite, constantly adventurous.

The album kicks off with brash guitars, electro keys and a solid drumbeat, until a ferocious bass furrow shoves it into overdrive, phosphorescent sparks flying, smoke billowing on the water, gently floating over the waves, before returning to the sonic madness. You are welcome, indeed. This leads next into another pile driver, the sardonic "Your Fly is Down", as both bass and guitars bruise the senses, insistent keys and marshaling drums complete the onslaught! A slick jazzy upturn catapults this into another realm, very catchy and way too short! More please? On "The Wind", a wobbly bass intro introduces the amazing voice of Amanda Lehmann (whose recent solo album was a definite ear-opener), a reflective yet quirky piece of melodramatic progressive rock, painted with strokes of gusty dissonance and breezy atmospherics, and a chorus that veers towards neo-gothic bombast. Very tasty indeed.

The tablas driven atmospherics on "Pareidolia" evoke images of 'Taj Mahalian' proportions, the bass carving a slow- paced space-rock ride that hanker back to Gong, Ozrics and company. Incense and curry, contemplation, and karma. Again, a very cool instrumental with loads of synths and effects. And now, for something completely different, a reworked and upgraded drum solo, Tenk quivers away on the electric guitar while drummer White evokes his inner Pierre van der Linden (of Focus fame), both sounding like that famous Dutch legend on exalted steroids. Fun, fast, slippery, and just plain brilliant. The bass, here played by guest Dale Wiser, is quite simply jaw dropping. "Human Zoo" is a more traditional pop-rock tune, focusing heavily on the sarcastic lyrics that try to settle a score with the human condition. Very well played instrumentally melodic yet acerbic lyrically, just the right dose of spit and venom, a slick guitar solo closes the enclosure's gates. That darn bass fretless bass announces the next vignette,"Llamada a San Cristobal" , a jazzier foray that cajoles and caresses with a wide variety of sounds emanating from the keys and guitars, everything swerving, veering and spinning in a near Canterbury fashion.

The epic "The Unfurling" stretches out over 10 minutes, flexing musical muscle and creative juice and displaying complex subtleties that will keep your ears on edge. The superlative playing is over the top genius, as the band shows an uncanny ability to keep things fascinatingly unpredictable whilst remaining utterly enjoyable, distributing abundant contrasts between shade and shine, tossing jolly frills along the way, such as the surprising piano section that really grabbed my attention. The uncoiling mood is soft one moment and jarring the next, distorted but very strategic, a clear sign of thoughtful dramatis.

Pounding returns on the effusive and belligerent rocker "Freeway", a driving song that I historically often dislike with very few exceptions. Its just not an inspiration for me as 'I'm in Love with my Car' 'Highway to Hell', 'Radar Love' or even 'Born to Be Wild' do not really shake my tree. That being said, the well-oiled bass and revving guitars are ridiculously tasty and chunky. Another bopping rocker, the sneering "Go Champion" sounds like T-Rex on speed, more gothic glam that anything heard recently, a somber vocal part notwithstanding. Fine companion to that other regal "Champion" song, I guess. The finale hits the spot on "Lemongrass and Thyme", a pastoral ditty with acoustic guitar in tow, reverberating keys, drowsy beat and a forlorn piano, with shrouded vocals dripping in whispered melancholia. The stinging electric guitar solo is like Larry Carlton homage.

A very entertaining entry, which I will surely revisit (next long road trip, LOL) as well as a band I intend to discover more releases past and future. Well done.

4 Sanctuaries of Turns

tszirmay | 4/5 |

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