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Brother Ape - Force Majeure CD (album) cover


Brother Ape

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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2 stars Brother Ape is said to be a jazz rock/fusion band. I wonder why when I can't hear anything of it on this record. A Facebook comrade suggested this band for me and I grabbed it happily with my common curiousity.

A prog band from my own country Sweden, Brother Ape which has done six records since 2005, amongst which the first one is highest ranked, was then my prog rock record for today. "Force Majeure"'s cover is black and shows an individ in a mystical shape. The record musicians are Stefan Damicolas(guitars, lead vocals and keyboards), Gunnar Maxen(bass, keyboards and vocals) and Max Bergman(drums and percussion).

This wasn't a record in my taste. I don't think it's prog and I don't think it's jazz. The sound was all too popular for me. What I liked on the record was that I find qualities in Stefan's voice which is bright and professional and some songs was quite nice such as the title track "Force Majeure" or "Life" which had a nice melody. The other songs didn't caught me at all. I heard some form of profession but it sounded wrong.

The music is very honeyed and pop approached. I guess the other Brother Ape record are more progressive, but after hearing this I'm not so interested in acquiring the others. The best tracks are already mentioned and I would keep off the others. I rate this record 2,35 which becomes two stars.

Report this review (#1058820)
Posted Saturday, October 12, 2013 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars One of the poppiest records of the year from a "prog" artist, I find the upbeat joie de vivre spirit on this album, within these artists quite engaging and refreshing. Though I would not place it in the same hallowed ground as their previous effort, A Rare Moment of Insight-- which I not only rated a five star masterpiece but continue to declare as my favorite album of 2010--(and of which I am still the only PA reviewer !!!!)--this is still an outstandingly well- crafted musical journey. And, though the overwhelming sentiment expressed in this music is one of unbound joy (you can tell that these guys love their music--that they love playing music!), there are moments of complex emotion and complex music. Take the multiple layers of instrumental play in the instrumental title song: there are ambiguities, tensions and ambivalences being expressed throughout this song--in different sections and by individual instruments mixed into the overall weave. And though "The Mirror" has the same upbeat, fast pace as the light and happy "Doing Just Fine" there is a tension and underlying seriousness that makes one feel pulled both ways. They must be using major seventh chords--those magical four-plus-notes combinations which incorporate both a major chord and a minor chord into one--that is, those sublime chords that express the fullness of the human experience, the joy and the sorrow all in one. Think of Satie, America, Vangelis, Serrie, and Karda Estra and you know major seventh chords. I do agree with my esteemed prog reviewer Dr'mmarenAdrian that this group belongs in a sub-genre other than "jazz rock/fusion." As a matter of fact, I do not know why PA cannot accommodate a "by-album" categorization process instead of a one-time-and-forever pidgeon-holing of a band. Think of how eclectic, experimental, and ever-growing bands like Ulver ("Post Rock/Math Rock"), Big Big Train ("Crossover"), The Gathering ("Experimental/Post Metal"), Steve Hackett ("Eclectic"), Mike Oldfield ("Crossover"), Porcupine Tree ("Heavy"), Steven Wilson ("Crossover"), Airbag ("Neo-prog"), Motorpsycho ("Eclectic"), Anekdtoen ("Heavy"), Genesis ("Symphonic"--even their post 70s stuff!)) and so many others are forever biased in the eyes of newcomers because of their categoric assignation despite having produced albums from numerous sub-genres other than the one to which they were assigned. Anyway, sorry to go off on that little rant. Back to Brother Ape. Every song on this album has a maturity and high-level production value that the band may not have consistently achieved in the past. Also, the confidence displayed in these compositions is almost awe- inspiring: they have a sound all their own and are not afraid to stick to it. And they keep evolving, which is something I really admire in this business, in this day and age of formulaic comfort zone composition and performance. This is, I admit, a bit too poppy to be considered as a masterpiece of "progressive rock music." Still, it is a record that I highly recommend--if only as a refreshing alternative to the current retro/neo trends in prog music.

There is only one song on this album that I do not consider a five star, nine- or ten-out-of-ten piece of high quality music. Quite a beautiful journey, this. Give it a try. Then treat yourself to 2010's A Rare Moment of Insight.

Report this review (#1075054)
Posted Sunday, November 10, 2013 | Review Permalink

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