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A Helmet of Gnats - High street CD (album) cover

HIGH STREET

A Helmet of Gnats

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.89 | 33 ratings

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Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
4 stars If you say your a fan of sophisticated music you really need to check out the latest from this American band called A HELMET OF GNATS. All four of these guys received their musical training at the Berklee College Of Music. Chris (guitars) and Matt (keyboards) have been playing together for some 30 years. In fact the albums' title "High Street" is the road that they both grew up on.The garage at Matt's parents house was eventually converted into a rehearsal space then later to a recording studio. So this album is a homage to their seventies youth and the place where the band got started.This was taken from the liner notes by the way. I still think I like the previous album more but I know that will change because everytime I listen to this I like it more. Like I said earlier there is so much sophistication and complexity here that it's going to take time for me to really take this all in, if I ever do. I'm in for the long haul regardless because this is one special album.

"Tsunami" opens with atmosphere then this guitar line comes in and is repeated. Organ 1 1/2 minutes in then guitar.This is repeated then it picks up after 3 minutes. A calm with atmosphere before 4 minutes.The guitar then comes to the fore in a relaxed manner. It kicks in heavier after 8 1/2 minutes before settling back before kicking in late. "Tin Whiskers" features laid back guitar to open. Keyboards, bass and drums join in as it gets fuller. Great sound here. Keyboards are outfront around 2 minutes. Guitar leads 5 minutes in until before 7 1/2 minutes. Some nice guitar work here. I like when it settles down a minute later. It then kicks back in. "Dozer" has this cool sounding intro with atmosphere as sounds come and go. It kicks in after a minute then settles back. The tempo picks up with piano after 2 1/2 minutes. It's heavier 4 minutes in and check out the keyboard work to follow. Guitar leads 7 minutes in until after 9 1/2 minutes.

"High Street" is the over 30 minute closer.They've broken it down into 16 parts in the liner notes beginning with "1970" and ending at "1980" but it's one long suite.You can hear kids laughing to start then piano comes in playing slowly.The music kicks in around 2 1/2 minutes. This is excellent, very fusion-like. Organ before 4 1/2 minutes. It's jazzy before 9 minutes. Lots of piano before 11 1/2 minutes then some brief heavy guitar. More of that after 14 minutes.The tempo picks up 15 1/2 minutes in. An atmospheric calm after 19 minutes.The sound of children playing returns. It kicks back in before 21 minutes then picks up before 24 minutes with organ and drums outfront. Guitar follows. It settles with bass then synths come in.The guitar and synths trade off after 26 minutes. A calm 28 1/2 minutes in and the kids are back to end it. Phew !

Without a doubt one of the best of 2010, these guys should be very proud.

Mellotron Storm | 4/5 |

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