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Naked City


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Prog Metal Team
4 stars Radio was my second exploration of John Zorn's Naked City featuring that same classic lineup that created that famous debut back in 1989. Since then, the band have done a number of different experiments with their sound, most notably the "under one minute songs" that completely dominated their last couple of releases. Now it was finally time for Naked City to return to the more digestible, although equally exciting, song format of compositions ranging between 1 to 6 minutes in length.

Unlike their previous works where one had to always be on guard for the crazy escapades that Naked City could spontaneously burst into, Radio plays smoothly in that aspect with only a few saxophone outbursts from John Zorn that shift the music in tone. Generally, it can be considered a relatively safe album which is quite a surprise since this was also the first release composed entirely by John Zorn! His style of jump cutting is certainly here but the tone and style shifts aren't that extreme as some of his most notorious releases tend to be.

I hope that you don't assume that a less chaotic release from Naked City lacks a nerve of any sort. In fact, each track has a correspondent inspiration correlated to it ranging from more tradition artists like Ennio Morricone, Quincy Jones and Led Zeppelin to the extremes like Ruins, Napalm Death and even Carcass! It can also be noted that the album is roughly split into two parts where the first half of the record feels more conventional while the second part is a bit more experimental. Even though I wouldn't call the first nine tracks uninteresting, they don't have the intensity that I expect from a John Zorn-related release. It's a great set of tunes that I can play almost any day but most of them lack that little extra push to turn them into Naked City classics.

The second part is much more liberal in it's tone with compositions like The Vault and Metal Tov really pushing through a new barrier on the way of the band's goal of creating interesting new approach to music making. The rest of the material might not be as sharp but it doesn't disappoint in any major way for me to award this release anything less than the excellent addition status.

It feels like Naked City had finally struck the balance between discovering new frontiers in music making without driving every new composition over the edge making them tough to enjoy. Even though I still rate their debut album above this one, Radio is a must have for anyone who likes their music with a twist of Avant-garde added to it.

***** star songs: The Vault (4:44) Metal Tov (2:07)

**** star songs: Asylum (1:55) Sunset Surfer (3:24) Party Girl (2:33) The Outsider (2:28) Triggerfingers (3:31) Terkmani Teepee (3:59) Sex Fiend (3:31) The Bitter And The Sweet (4:52) Krazy Kat (1:54) Bone Orchard (3:54) I Die Screaming (2:29) Pistol Whipping (0:57) Skatekey (1:24) Shock Corridor (1:08) American Psycho (6:09)

*** star songs: Razorwire (5:31) Poisonhead (1:09)

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Posted Monday, August 9, 2010 | Review Permalink

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