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Easy Money
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Like most early Mandrill albums, Mandrilland contains an unbelievable variety of music, Latin pop, epic African soundtracks, funky jazz, pseudo-classical passages, commercial soul music, Carribean and psychedelic rock are just some of the styles that get heartfelt and authentic workouts from this eclectic band.

A lot of the progressive stuff goes down on side four where keyboardist Claude Cave's tribute to Duke Ellington sounds more like a tribute to Jon Lord and Keith Emmerson with his swirling distorted B-3 playing gothic classical preludes to the band's loungey big band groove. Other songs on side four find the band mixing psychedelic jazz-rock with African grooves for some excellent highly original jams that sound like a cross between Mahavishnu and Fela Kuti.

Side three isn't bad and features more African jams, as well as some jokey avant-funk that sounds like mid-70s Zappa or Funkadelic. Side two is mostly ballads, one Beatlesque, a couple more in a Latin rock style and a few that sound like classic uplifting early 70s orchestrated soul music. All of these songs are nice and well written, but a bit commercial for the most part.

Working our way backwards we finally get to side one which is an excellent five part African psychedelic funk jazz jam that goes through many changes and moods and is never boring during it's twenty minute odyssey. I love late 60s-early 70s psychedelic 'African hippie music', it seems like bands like this were always around in the early rock scene, but unfortunately most were swept aside as rock became more corporate and homogenized in the mid-70s.

Report this review (#194689)
Posted Monday, December 22, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Solid Progressive Soul.

Mandrills fourth album is a double album. Double albums in my opinion tend to be an exercise in bloat and filler. This is one such case. While there are delightful moments, all to often they are sandwiched between mediocre songs which really prevents the album from escaping 3*. I find the weakest element of Mandrill and by extension Mandrilland is the bands low ability to create convincing vocal songs. Many of the short poppy songs are done at a very mediocre level, Positive Things, The Road To Love and El Funko for example. That's not to say every song with singing I find unpleasant, the pastoral Reason I Sing is nice, as is Khidja. On another positive note I find Mandrill tends to create instrumental of far higher quality then other proprietors of their style, including Demon Fuzz. Mini Suite For Duke is wonderful, far less repetitive then I've come to expect from Progressive Soul although, some like Skying Upward are pretty dull.

Overall this is good album, I like the sound, I like the way some of the songs segue into another, forming suites (side 1). Finally I recommend starting with side 4 first.

Report this review (#2593379)
Posted Friday, September 10, 2021 | Review Permalink

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