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Land Of Chocolate - Unikorn On The Cob  CD (album) cover

UNIKORN ON THE COB

Land Of Chocolate

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.60 | 7 ratings

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Dan Bobrowski
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Land of Chocolate is the brainchild of John Buzby, former drummer of Finneus Gauge and brother of Echolyn's Chris Buzby. Jordan Perlson, former percussionist for Echolyn, handles the drum kit. Brian O'Neill is the guitarist and John Jens holds down the bottom on bass and Chapman Stick.

The music is in the vein of Finneus Gauge, sort of an updated Bruford style fusion outfit with heavier prog sensibilities.There is a lot of Gentle Giant/Echolyn vocal harmonies. Some songs even ring of Echolyn. I hear some 80s/90s King Crimson as well. Heady, busy music. In the tray insert there is a milk carton with Land of Choclate Milk printed on the side. Below that is the message, "38% more music than other bands." I'd have to say that statement is valid, these guys play their asses off. The music shifts textures and rhythms faster and more often then the TOP 40's next biggest thing.

Musically, this band is chock full of talent, ideas, interesting solos, complex themes and stinging chord structure. Lyrically, they are a bit off the wall, Zappaesque, similar to Frogg Cafe, Adrian Belew, Mike Keneally or Bubblemath. Vocally, now here is the challenge, John Buzby has a voice that wears thin after a few listens. Not a bad voice, just not a pleasant, "let me hear that again," type of voice. That is the reason for a simple "good" rating and the reason why it doesn't get much playing time in my CD player. I prefer this type of music sans vocals. With only one instrumental, title track "Unikorn on the Cob," this is a problem, for me. I would also say there are too many lyrics, too much singing. Nearly every tune is 60-70% vocal, not enough space for the music to do the talking.

The production is great, Echolyn's Brett Kull was behind the board, so there really is no surprise there. Each instrument has presence, space and owns some space in the mix.

Walk Fast is one of the better tracks, a bit slower, not as harsh vocally. Musical Findings has some great lyrics about listening to the music that impacted our lives and tastes. Upping the Ante is another tune that isn't harmed by the vocals. Broken Record is another ballad, nice synth work, sounds like guitar synth to me. Making Friends could have been left on the studio cutting room floor or is that the recycle bin? Making fun of multiple personalities isn't at all funny, scary really. Self Control has a bit of the King Crimson stick loop at the beginning. Another good track.

So there you have it. It all about John Buzby's voice. in my opinion. If you like it, great! If you don't, it's still good.

Dan Bobrowski | 3/5 |

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