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Sweet Potato - Mash CD (album) cover

MASH

Sweet Potato

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

4.00 | 1 ratings

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octopus-4
Special Collaborator
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
4 stars The first track of this album can be misleading as it starts like a Nu Metal track, impression that's caused mainly by Steven Baker's voice that sounds similar to Serj Tankian. I have to confess that I like SOAD and Tankian solo works, so this is not an issue at all for me. "Leaky Margin" is a good song, only the rest of the album is of a different kind.

"Poor Old Abe" starts with good bass chords. The song developes smoothly. It reminds me to the Math band "From Monument To Masses", but I hear a little touch of jazz, mainly in the guitar. This track is hypnotic and the bass in evidence contributes a lot with its rhythmic. There's an exciting crescendo from minute 3 to minute 5, then the bass recovers its role for an instrumental sequence with mute singing. Excellent track. Two minutes before the end a drum solo appears and introduces a totally different thing with the bass still as main instrument supporting a screaming voice through a megaphone.

"Mediocracy" is opened by a dissonant guitar chord and two clarinets more dissonant than the guitar. Very dark and atmospheric. It makes me think to Art Zoid.

"Hidden Variables" has a Canterbury feeling. To describe this track I can mention the early Soft Machine. This is another excellent track on which also the vocalist and his background vocals perform very well. The signature is strange and unusual. I can't decide if it's just a 5/4. Apparently it's something more complex. Also this track grows in an exciting chaotic crescendo.

"We'll think" has a free jazz start driven by clarinet and bass. Odd signature, guitar and vocals plus the choir of the other band members make swing and the chorus makes a nice contrast with distorted guitar and screamed vocals. At about minute 4 the other instruments add a bit of chaos over the jazz base hold by drums and bass. In the final the song changes drastically. The jazz is replaced by a very hard section which leads to the sudden final.

"Slow Priest Turns The Mummers On" makes me think to Area and Stormy Six. The clarinet plays like it's a jazz standard while the other instruments make something different and very dark. Five minutes of jazz madness closed by claps.

Less than one minute is the duration of "Mashed" which is written so to remind the TV serie. (M*A*S*H*E*D*). It seems just a quick shot taken during studio rehearsals

"Die Hard 5" sees again bass and vocals in foreground for another song which reminds again to SOAD but with a sort of chorus that's totally progressive. Various signature changes (almost all of them odd) play a repetitive theme that's like a mantra which stops suddenly after 4 minutes. An interlude and a new bass base arrives., then the track i sdeveloped to a chaotic free jazz excercise in the vein of Area, corroborated by an excellent drums riff and a short coda which reprises the initial theme.

"Four Pollocks Into a Bop" is undescrivable with words, but it's pure jazz. It reminds me to Cecil Taylor and to concrete music. Baker's singing, with the necessary distintions, has something of Demetrio Stratos, especially in the low pitches.

What started like Nu Metal reveals to be a free-jazz adventure. Not an easy album but it can surely appeal JR/F and RIO fans.

Excellent album.

octopus-4 | 4/5 |

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