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District 97 - Trouble With Machines CD (album) cover


District 97


Crossover Prog

3.92 | 167 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars District 97, from Chicago, was formed in the fall of 2006 by drummer Jonathan Schang, keyboardist Rob Clearfield, bassist Patrick Mulcahy, and guitarist Sam Krahn (who was eventually replaced by the current guitarist Jim Tashijian). This foursome started out playing instrumental rock, which was heavily inspired by Liquid Tension Experiment. Eventually, the band decided they needed a vocalist who would complement their style and sound, and 2007 American Idol finalist Leslie Hunt was chosen. Yes ? I said American Idol. I bet you never thought you'd read about an American Idol in a Progressive Rock band, did you?

In any case, Trouble With Machines is District 97's sophomore release, and I feel that - while their debut, "Hybrid Child", was a wonderful and unique album - this album shows maturity and development in style and sound from the previous release. And it is no surprise that the band has earned praise from some big names in the Prog world such as Bill Bruford, John Wetton, and Carl Palmer, as well as chart topping fan support. It is actually quite difficult, in my mind, to place this band into any particular sub-genre, as it presents a unique blending of styles with some Neo Prog, melodic rock, symphonic impressions, hard rock, and even some Progressive Metal style guitar riffs. One of the songs, Perfect Young Man, even feels to my ears sort of like a Prog Rock infused version of a Broadway show tune, especially with the story telling aspect of this song. This melding of styles is complimented extremely well by Leslie Hunt's heavily Jazz-influenced style of singing. Some words and phrases I would use to describe the music of this particular album would be: eclectic, enigmatic, difficult to categorize, playful, clever, exploratory, sassy, and a whole lot of fun. The compositions are wonderfully well thought out, and present many twists and turns, good grooves, complex and playful rhythms, and some excellent musicianship. They even throw some twists at the listener with the choice of instruments, as they feature cello playing (which at one point strangely enough seemed to be played in a similar style to Flamenco guitar playing) and even a short Banjo section. This is truly an inspired piece of work, and an enjoyable and unique release and I highly recommend keeping an eye on this band, as I will be doing.

Originally written for

dtguitarfan | 5/5 |


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