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Humble Grumble - Flanders Fields CD (album) cover


Humble Grumble



3.45 | 26 ratings

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3 stars The debut of Belgian Humble Grumble at Altrock Productions, "Flanders Fields" is not just a pleasant surprise for the lovers of alternative music, it is an undisputed fusion masterpiece. Yes, beware, this review will be a collection of superlatives, but this time, only because the record actually deserves them.

The vocal jazz-rock Humble Grumble produces is a jewel of an originality. There is no one band making this kind of music, that I am aware of. Of course, they didn't come from another planet, and also have listened to the music we all listened. So, the references are all there. The playful vocal arrangements remind me most of the 10cc Cabaret-like masterpiece "Une nuit a Paris" from the album "The Original Soundtrack" back from 1975. The melodies are also at least that great, having lots of air play potential, if not for too jazzy arrangements around them. There, the fabulous play of two men on the reeds ? Pol Mareen (sax) and Pedro Guridi (clarinets), and Pieter Claus on marimba and vibraphone define the sound of the band a lot.

But the most important for the band is the front man Gabor Humble Vörös. He is not only responsible for the band's name and fine song writing, but he is also a fantastic vocalist with quite a vocal range, and an original guitarist, who also can show at times his techniques. It is nice though, that his guitar playing doesn't dominate the record.

The fantastic instrumental arrangements give every member of the band just the right time to play tunes and do some little improvisations. Those last very controlled though, the finger was steady at the controls during the recording sessions, I believe. This delivers a cleverly composed and arranged record, once again, a masterpiece, where no one note is superfluous: everything is just right.

I am not going to dissect the album song by song. The record doesn't just consist of numbers, it is a complete whole, which is a smart thing here, since the most of songs are composed in a different key, displaying a whole range of styles, from a heavier prog to a jazzy and lighter vocal-oriented songs. An important ingredient that binds it all, is humour. Both the lyrics and music are soaked with this fine matter, that makes the record that playful, bright and colourful object of pure joy.

Other references would be Daevid Allen's Gong, Frank Zappa, Mr. Bungle, Modest Midget, Uz Jsme Doma.

Altrock just has this knack of discovering the absolute talents all over the world. Everything they produced so far is more than worth of digging. Think of Italian Yugen, Byelorussian Rational Diet, Argentinean Factor Burzaco and many many more, some of them already covered on this site. I wish you lots of pleasure discovering all of them by yourself.

justaguy | 3/5 |


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