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Ozric Tentacles - Paper Monkeys CD (album) cover


Ozric Tentacles


Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.46 | 132 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars Ed & family's sixth studio album release of the 21st Century.

1. "Attack of the Vapours" (5:22) like STEVE HILLAGE with rock beat, frenetic Indian-like percussion, and conversing synth cats! Definitely one of Ed's most speedy and computer-roboticized pieces. (8.75/10)

2. "Lemon Kush" (6:15) a bit of a rocker that conjures up concepts like OT doing mock ups or mix-medleys of old rock classics (here The Who's "Eminence Front" with Alan Parsons Project's "I Robot" and Jan Hammer's "Miami Vice Theme"). It's hard to imagine that all of these tracks were played at these breakneck speeds; might they have been computer-sped up for the final mixes? Very interesting. (8.875/10)

3. "Flying Machines" (6:26) some Petri Walli/Jimi Hendrix-like guitar shredding dispersed over one of the simpler rhythm tracks and song constructs I've heard from OT in a while. (8.66667/10)

4. "Knurl" (6:08) I know this one was built around Brandi Wynne's gorgeous TONY LEVIN-like bass line. How much fun would it be to be in the studio when these guys go through their vast array of tried and true sounds and styles of world and traditional music sounds and styles in order to find which combination and permutation "fits" best with the current construct they're working on. This one has no certain traditon for its source and so must justifiably be labelled a "mutt," "mélamge," or "hybrid." It is, however, a bit of a lame duck in terms of taking space where originality could stand tall. (8.666667/10)

5. "Lost in the Sky" (7:20) I know it must be terribly difficult to constantly have to try to reinvent one's sound, style, or library of sound from album to album--especially over a 25-year span--but to borrow not one but two signature sounds from one song ("Stretchy") for a new song is inexcusable. Perhaps this was a period where fans were clamoring for more of the old (I know it was before the fire that destroyed all of their equipment). (13.125/15)

6. "Paper Monkeys" (7:17) opens like a classic heavy rock song from the 1970s--like something by Ted Nugent or even Jeff Beck (especially in the bass and drum rhythm section); very rock lead guitar-led and -oriented. Not only are they reaching back for old riffs and sounds to build their songs upon, they're actually going beyond their usual psychedelic and space rock sources. Too straightforward and one-dimensional. A lot of people will like this one for yet another hyperspeed journey. (13/15)

7. "Plowm" (7:52) interesting synth sequence to open. Deep funky bass-led band jumps right in within 30 seconds, setting up a nice weave over which Ed's searing lead guitar and multiple synth sounds take turns injecting their perspectives, short-lived or not. Different upper-register e-guitar strumming around the three-minute mark followed by bridge to alto pan flute-like synth solo. Nice low-end, well-spaced guitar chords in the fifth minute before they turn into one of Ed's fiery flanged Todd Rundgren-like solos. It's quite a nice solo; too bad it's stuck way back there in the garden. (I love Todd's lead sound.) Finally something that feels a little fresh. A top three song for me. (13.5/15)

8. "The Will of the Wisps" (10:42) What?! Dreamy, spacey? An all-synth weave (before the militaristic drumming rises to the fore)? A little Andreas Vollenweider here? Another "too bad" cuz Ollie Seagle's drumming is actually rather remarkable. I actually enjoy this kind of "world space music" quite a lot--and do not miss the guitar or funky bass; it's always fun for me to see/hear what a whole room of computer keyboard players can weave together. The Balinese "will 'o' wisp" voices in the sixth minute are cool, but I have to admit that the guitar track introduced disappoints me-- even though it's just Jan Akkerman-like rhythm work. Another wave of Balinese voices and we switch into the domineering presence of the full wah-blues guitar. Fortunately, he doesn't go off into a full-blown testosterone-fueled solo until well into the tenth minute. (George Thorogood!) Despite the let-down of the final three minutes, this is another top three song for me. (18.25/20)

9. "Air City" (3:53) sounds like a percussionist's happy variation of Jan Akkerman's classic, "Skydancer." My other top three song. (8.875/10)

Total Time 61:15

This is the most computer-manipulated music I've ever heard from the OT crew--which begs the question: Can this music actually be performed live by non-robotic human musicians? Also, is the overwhelming dominance of breakneck-speed songs on this album indicative of any issues within the band? (Like impatience, time limits, or amphetamine use?)

B/four stars; overall, this is an album of solid it, at times, familiar Ozrics songs with just enough fresh ideas to make it an excellent addition to any prog lover's music collection--especially if you're already a fan.

BrufordFreak | 4/5 |


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