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Pseudo/Sentai - Scrapes of an Enigmatic Nature CD (album) cover

SCRAPES OF AN ENIGMATIC NATURE

Pseudo/Sentai

 

Crossover Prog

4.00 | 2 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

HolyMoly
Special Collaborator
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl and Canterbury Teams
4 stars At this early juncture in the band's history, the band was recording under the name Patient's Worth, and was essentially just a duo of Greg Murphy and Scott Baker. And right out of the gate, the group really seem to have aimed high here. While it may be lacking in some of the immediate surface appeal of their more recent material (the shimmering avant pop of Nature's Imagination, Chapter Two for example), this early album has a bit more of an exploratory vibe that really appeals to me.

Clocking in at just over 33 minutes in length, Pseudo/Sentai packs a lot of musical ideas into a short amount of time -- even a two minute song in their hands can go through as many sections as Tarkus did in twenty. The changes can be jarring at first, but on second or third listen they feel more natural, and better yet, they're supported by solid melodies and variations in texture.

"Federation Cremation", the four minute opener, seems to sum up the album's appeal the best. Accompanied by a brisk electronic drum beat, the song starts with a strong, assertive verse, but by the one minute mark the song has already changed directions, into a slightly woozy section, keeping me off balance, and soon you get a new riff to chew on, and by the time the song's over you feel like you've gotten about 3 songs for the price of one. Other highlights include the more straightforward "Fit for a Sting", which brings in some creepy electronic effects on the vocals as well as some punky guitar riffing. "Suturing Spectres to Ghostman" is a truly bizarre number that reminds me of a ska record played at half speed, with Fred Frith-like guitar overdubbage and choice lyrical phrases like "numerically tattooed sheep don't come cheap". Right on.

The most avant garde track comes at the end, the 8 minute "$$$/OBW", consisting of weird electronic noises for most of its first half, long stretches of silence, then finally a triumphant outro that pairs a good solid song seemingly duetting with some robotic voices. Reminded me a little of the Third Impression of ELP's Karn Evil 9, kind of. The song ends on an emotional coda, and fades out with some synthesizers. Nice track.

Avant prog fans would do well to check this out. It's certainly a similar composition style to their more recent material, but there's a more intentionally weird tendency that fans of groups like Cheer-Accident might like. Very enjoyable.

HolyMoly | 4/5 |

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