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Gongzilla - Five Even CD (album) cover



Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This, last to time, Gongzilla incarnation, is far not the same band as they were at very beginning. With their roots in Gaze use-time Gong, the band explored similar form of jazz rock fusion on their previous albums. Often with guest star - guitarists (as Allan Holdsworth or David Torn).

This time there are no well-known guest invited. This album is played by team, led by bassist and vocalist Hansford Rowe. When I started with very first song, it looked I just put a wrong CD in my Harman-Cardon system. It sounded like unknown Peter Gabriel's album... Same voice, similar aerial funky beat.

Few next songs were more jazzy, sometimes with soloing guitar. But all music is very far from jazz fusion of late 70-s. Many songs are with vocals ( which really often sounds very Peter Gabriel - like), rhythms are funky or even African, music is very airy, pleasant, quite melodic.

Somewhere from the middle of this album, I started to like this music. It is very different from what you're expecting to hear. But if you will listen without prediction, you will realize how different, beautiful and fresh it sounds.

Yes, musicians used many pop elements, but it is tasteful and elegant pop, you don't need to afraid to. Possibly, it is easier way to imagine this album as Steely Dan from 2008. Those of you for whom this comparison sounds attractive - find and try this album. You wouldn't be disappointed!

Report this review (#272957)
Posted Friday, March 19, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars Cool and groovy stuff that would please Ben Harper and Morcheeba fans. A bit of Lynyrd Skynird also thrown in for good measure. Prog is found here in minute traces only.

The band's last album is a marked deviation from the Gong legacy, to the point that the formerly multi-national European approach had given way to semi-commercial American preferences.

This album marks the transition between Gong and the less inspiring Hansford Rowe solo work that followed. The largely spoken lyrics are somewhat amusing at times and some very slick southern guitar slinging goes down very nicely. But Gong it ain't no more. Even Benoit Moerlen had been replaced by a new addition on vibes, who is barely permitted to be heard.

The exceptionally talented guitarist, David Fiuczynski is still present and provides a welcome relief, whenever he is offered a brief chance. How Kai Eckhadt ended up being associated with this work - if only for a few very pleasing notes - remains a mystery to me. I know of him as of an excellent jazz musician associated with John McLaughlin. Then again, around this time even McLaughlin was having difficulties with securing a record contract. Hand to mouth situation?

At first listen this album appears to be very pleasant and immediately accessible and that's a bit of a concern. But only time will tell.

For now I would rate it 3.5, but it may change in future - either way.

Report this review (#1155101)
Posted Friday, March 28, 2014 | Review Permalink

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