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Out Of Focus - Rat Roads CD (album) cover

RAT ROADS

Out Of Focus

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
4 stars This album is actually the remaining numbers from the recording sessions of their third album Four Letter Monday Afternoon. As that album was already a double vinyl - there was enough material to have made it a triple - and this is not really the bottom of the drawer stuff either as one could fear, but the tapes remained untouched for decades. Funnily, this album is their second posthumous release (although Never Too Late was indeed meant to be released back in the days, where this one was not, but it was recorded before NTL) is it is yet another step towards their jazz-fusion trek. But the group was still officially a quintet, not having absorbed Ingo Schmid and Peter Dechant as full members. Behind another spooky artwork (again from Drechsler's now ex-wife), hides another amazing OOF album that deserves your full attention.

If I call these tracks "leftovers", believe me, it is just an expression because there is absolutely nothing that they would envy to any of their other albums. Indeed, I'D Like To Be Free and the 12-mins Table Talk starts this compilation in excellent fashion, especially with Herring's superb organ work on the later, even if the jamming takes us back to FLMA. The self-tiled track is a bit long in evolving and the first part seems a bit muffled, but once the group liberates itself in the finale, all hell breaks loose. Fallen Apples is a superb and reflective slow guitar piece, with with Ingo's baritone sax answering it.

Straight Ahead is an organ-driven boogie (Herring plus Tatcher on this one) with a superb trumpet solo from guest Povlika. Moran sings only on two tracks and to be truthful his voice is now anything but irritating (to those that ever thought it) and the group plays ever more tightly because of it. The 12-min+ Climax is their peak and could have been easily fitted on a side of Four Letter if their Hunchen 55 had been shortened by half (this number did add up to 48 min and it was.....tooo long). Climax starts fantastically slow and slowly rises to greatness through a series of fun brass interventions, including a superb trombone section. The last two short titbits so the compilation absolutely no favour, and as a matter of fact pretty well ruin a bit yet another superb OOF disc.

Musically this is right up with the rest of the session, so if you appreciated Four Letter, this one should pass as another letter in the mail (easy, I meant). It does have that unfinished touch to it, though. I was mentally torn apart because of the ratings system: my heart giving it high marks because I love the band and the music developed and the signification of the star rating system: this excellent and essential if you are a fan. But in a way, this is for fans only...... So between a 4 or 5 on one side and a 2 on the other side (rating system) so my brains let my mind win.

Report this review (#30602)
Posted Thursday, June 24, 2004 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This is OUT OF FOCUS' second posthumous release. The tracks here were leftovers from the "Four Letter Monday Afternoon" sessions. Man they recorded a lot of material during that time and it's all outstanding. A bit more of a free form/jamming style here and it's fantastic.

"I'd Like To Be Free" opens with a guitar melody then a fuller sound arrives before a minute. Nice organ and bass section follows.Vocals join in too then sax. Great sound before 4 minutes with the guitar and sax standing out. Bass and organ lead briefly around 6 minutes again. Piano late. "Table Talk" opens with horns with no real melody as they come and go. Drums and bass join in for support. Organ before 4 1/2 minutes. Horns dominate before 7 minutes. This sounds incredible ! "Rat Roads" builds with horns and drums but it settles back quickly as the organ floats in the background. It picks up before 4 minutes then kicks in with gusto. "Fallen Apples" is a short mellow tune with horns,keys and gentle guitar.

"Straight Ahead" has a good rhythm to it with organ playing over top. Horns join in and dominate. "Tell Me What I'm Thinking Of" is led by vocals, drums, organ and bass.The chorus just sweeps me away. So good. Guitar before 1 1/2 minutes then the horns join in. Just a gorgeous track. "Climax" opens with the horns sounding like they're warming up (haha). We start to get a melody before 5 minutes and they seem to jam the rest of the way. "Kitchen Blues" is 30 seconds of mainly horns while "Good-Bye Honey" is a minute of the guitar, bass and drums standing out.

Another exceptional release from these talented Germans. Well worth checking out.

Report this review (#289670)
Posted Thursday, July 8, 2010 | Review Permalink

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