Header
Happy Family - Toscco CD (album) cover

TOSCCO

Happy Family

Zeuhl


From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Bookmark and Share
5 stars Happy Family caught my attention while trying to expand my prog horizons, since I've read that Zeuhl is a complicated genre, I found myself listening this album in no time

My first impression was is that a Heavy Metal band crossed with RIO and a dash of good ol' fusion. Upon further hearing, this is my final veredict.

The intro "The Great Man" builds up tension for the next track "Overdrive Locomotive" brilliantly with flute (I'm not sure), pyching us up for the Roller Coaster ride of our lives.

"Overdrive Locomotive" opens with a full Fusion/Metal assault to your ears, you first notice the excellent drumming and powerful bass in some of the crazy mood breakers. The ride begins again, full blasts of guitar and some nice keyboards, brings to a calm, almost instrospective part before catching energy again. Think as if Pantera's Guitars and Magma's keyboard, drumming and bass worked joined up.

" Nord Company Vs. Lead Company" starts with some rather strange drumming and goes up to a Prog Metal pace where guitar and bass combine to make an unique sound while Drummer Keiichi Nagase brings all of the components together while the strangeness of Kenichi Morimoto (keyboards) adds a Zappa-esque touch to the music.

"Filial Piety at the Dawn" Very weird, indeed! Starts at a slow pace, with strange keyboards and guitar, then morphing into Heavy Metal spirit and coming back again! a Space/Psych/Metal song

"The Sushi Bar" Piano in the start, something you wouldn't expect after such adrenaline-filled ride, keyboards settle in, setting a calm mood and... Breaking to another Zappa/Metal-ish vibraphone-guitar duet. Metal, Space and twisted breaks can be listened. This could be a mixture of the last 3 songs: The energy of "Locomotive", the Zappa touch form "Nord VS Lead" and the Space/Psych feeling of "Piety"

"He is coming to Tokyo Town": A lot of Piano/keybord orchestration, near the bombastic line, bringing variety to the album and thus being one of the highlights of the song.

"The Picture Book - X Rated": Starts with drums and bass, joined quicly by a very Magma-ish piano. Guitar work brings yet again a Metal feeling to the music. The song it's based around a theme (you will notice) and constantly twisting it with catchy yet complicated musicianship

"The Three Leaves Insect": A more fusion oriented song. Lots of piano and crunchy guitar to spare. Lots of mood breaker and tempo twists, like a metal solo coming to a slow, organ intermission, only to be driven to a fusion frenzy with a wild piano solo to boot, and coming back to a drowzy, almost Mellotron-ish break. Eventually drown by a battle of instruments, fighting to show their technical prowess, passing into Metal in a tug of war of sorts. Massive virtuosity here, worthy of being one of the epic songs of the album.

The Great Man (Revisited): An acoustic version of the first track.

Sentence: This album overwhelmed me at the first listen, but eventaully subcumbed into it's technical yet fascianting music. It's very Metal influenced so many will complain, I think it gives a certian edge to the music that alone it could not create.

Essential? Could be, as it brings the best from various genres, but it's not for the weak of heart or those that can't stand the distortion of Metal.

My rating: 4.5 - Excellent musicianship, intelligent and creative music, great production but not may not appeal those who doesn't like experimental/complex music.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Send comments to RavenDarkmoon (BETA) | Report this review (#56234)
Posted Sunday, November 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
mhiraldo@hotm
4 stars Excellent! This group really keeps you interested through out the entire cd with their combination of Zeuhl styled fusion. Some heavy rock is injected in the formula, along with some UZ-type atmosphere (dark). Overall an entertaining and quite original (despite all the comparisons) japanese group. Recommended to those familiar with groups like Mahavisnu Orchestra (birds of fire era), Magma, univers Zero and Zappa.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#75944)
Posted Sunday, April 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album is one of those select few that simply want to make you say, "wow!" for the duration of the listening experience. Every note here is simply perfect, placed in the right place at the right time, inviting you to enjoy every second of it. Before I delve further into the content of the album, however, I'd like to digress for a moment to agree with The Miracle that this is much more RIO/avant prog than Zeuhl (though the line between the two subgenres is often blurred). This can be both good and bad. If you really like Magma, you need to know that Happy Family sounds nothing like them (in my mind, they sound much better). On the other hand, if you really dislike Magma, Happy Family is a band that can get you into other aspects of the Zeuhl style of prog (on the assumption that it actually is Zeuhl). And besides, even if you do like Magma, you wouldn't want this band to copy them, would you? I'm guessing you wouldn't, and I personally find Happy Family's unique approach to music much more satisfying than if they were to Magma what Starcastle is to Yes (for those who don't know, Starcastle is a Yes clone).

I wouldn't call myself a Zeuhl expert, as my experience with the genre extends only to six or so Magma albums and this album, but I can, without a moment's hesitation, proclaim this to the be the greatest Zeuhl album I've heard (yet again, assuming it actually is Zeuhl). Based solely on the sample track on this site, Dun could be some stiff competition with Eros, but for now, Toscco stands as my favorite Zeuhl album. It is highly inventive and unique, full of energy, and most importantly, it's music with a point to it, unafraid to challenge listeners and scare off the faint-hearted. It's highly complex, as you would expect, and yet it doesn't for a moment come across as pretentious. Instead, it sounds like an amazing band at the top of their game, gelling as a unit and producing some of the greatest music to ever grace my ears.

The basic backdrop of this album is metal, but push that out of your mind. Yes, it's fast paced, aggressive, and uses distorted guitars, but there is more to it than that, and it clearly is far removed from standard prog metal fare (Ayreon, Dream Theater, Opeth, Pain of Salvation, Riverside and their ilk). I used the word backdrop earlier in this paragraph, and that's really the extent of the metal on this album. It is a base style that Happy Family proceeds to twist and modify in all sorts of ways, making it distinctly their own. They throw in touches of Zeuhl and maybe even symphonic prog, and then they add a whole lot of themselves into the mix, resulting in a unique and ultimately wonderful album you won't want to miss.

The most immediate aspect of this album is the drummer. When listening to this album, I constantly have to ask myself if he ever takes a break, because I honestly can't catch him at it. He is simply relentless on the drums, pounding away without remorse, and with an ear out for the listener. He utilizes creative techniques and never allows himself to fall into a repetitive rhythm, but rather creates on of his own that perfectly goes with the music he supports. One only needs to listen to the first half a minute of Nord Company Vs. Lead Company to get an idea of just what he's going to throw at you for nearly fifty-five minutes. The rest of the band, of course, does not disappoint, not even by a longshot. The guitar is simply blistering throughout (a rather non-Zeuhl-ish characteristic), and you can witness Zeuhl-bass in all its glory on The Three Leaves Insect, but the best parts of the album come through their use of non-conventional instruments (I swear that's a xylophone in lead in large portions of The Sushi Bar, which just happens to be my favorite song on the album). I also find it incredibly hard to resist the keyboard work, especially on Overdrive Locomotive, where the keys are used to simulate car horns honking.

So, after all that praise, can I really call this album a PERFECT masterpiece? Almost, but not quite. From the opening strains of The Great Man to the closing strains of The Great Man (revisited), this album earns the title "The Great Album" many times over. My only problem is that it stretches out just a tad bit too long. After several careful listenings of this album, I can only come to the conclusion that it is right up there with the greatest albums in my collection. This is an album strikingly similar to a roller coaster. It's different and difficult to stomach, but once you ride it once, you'll just have to keep getting back in line to ride it again. Essential, whether or not you even know what Zeuhl is.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Send comments to Pnoom! (BETA) | Report this review (#114026)
Posted Friday, March 02, 2007 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
4 stars Happy Family had existed for quite a while before they actually release proper Cd releases: apparently three self-made cassettes were sold at their concerts. By the time that their eponymous debut album was released, HP was heavily into a weird Crimsonian Zeuhl music (as if Fripp was had cross-pollinated with UZ and Vander's bunch in a metal container), and while fairly different, Toscco is the logical continuation of their first utterances, but it is much more mastered in its own art.

If possible I'd like to override my young reviewing colleagues Miracle/Ansen and IPOF, as maybe they have not fully grasped all the facets of Zeuhl, but Toscco is definitely a full-blown Zeuhl album (and a dynamite one too), even if the metal tendencies of the previous album are again "interfering" (for lack of a better word) with the genre's more recognizable traits. If HP does not sound like Magma much, they certainly sound a lot more like Univers Zero, Present and carry a lot of darkness of Island (the Swiss group), while their hi-energy RIO side of their music is also another dominant facet of their sound.

Starting on the calm clarinet-driven intro of Great Man, the album is mostly based on the longer tracks such as Nord Company, Sushi Bar (with its excellent clunky piano intro before exploding into a wild rrriff series before returning to the clunky piano) and Three Leaves Insect, where the group is most at ease developing Present-like grooves (the piano is so reminiscent of Trigaux's lines >> even if he didn't play them in his group, he still wrote them), while the relentless drumming is cross of Bruford and Daniel Denis, but also Dave Kerman (again Present). The shorter pieces are not to be overlooked, though: Picture Book (with a King Crimson crescendo ala Starless), Locomotive (with its incessant Present groove constantly interrupted by the piano breaks) and Tokyo Station (with its almost macabre middle section) are the legs and arms of the album on which is stands on and offers you what 90's prog has done best: intense power prog music.

Happy Family might just rank as my fave group from Japan along with Stomu Yamashta and the Far East Family Band, even if those two are more into cosmic music. Possibly on of the best mid-90's album, Toscco is for me almost essential (actually it is fully essential, but unfortunately, it is a little lost in the last decade's production of myriad of such album, a good deal of them on their own label, the great Cuneiform) but slightly too derivative of Present: this is maybe its only "flaw" if it can be seen as one.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#119926)
Posted Friday, April 27, 2007 | Review Permalink
Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars "Toscco" has to be one of the most accomplished masterpieces of today's experimental prog. Coming from Japan, Happy Family delivers an amazing musical vision in which extravagance, agression and dementia combine in a simbiosis solidly founded on the confluence of radical Crimson and a raw version of zheul standards (Dr. Nerve, anyone?). You can also notice similarities with NeBeLNeST and H÷yry-Kone, although, unlike the former, the keyboard parts are not as absorbing (not even in the spacier moments), and unlike both, Happy Family tends to put more emphasis on the jazzier side of experimental prog. Regarding this aforesaid factor, you can notice more similarities with Present, but again, Happy Family manages to create a robist world of their own within the confines of their own avant-garde style. "Toscco" gets started with a very languid piece, which is too far from melancholic, it is actually quite sordid in its mistery: the cadence portrayed in 'The Great Man' bears a freaky vibe that seems to precede a terrible danger that's on the brink. After this peculiar prelude, comes the manifestation of the general rule: pure expression of overwhelming madness delivered with neurotic intelligence and dynamic complexity. The sonic storm with which 'Overdrive Locomotive' is an explosion that marks the theme's inherent tension, a tension that makes its presence palpable even in the least explosive passages: this is what happens when RIO flirts with thrash metal and math-rock. The calculated saturating dirtiness of Myano's bass lines and Izutani's guitar leads create a magnificent triangle with Hagase's intrincate drumming, with Morimoto's keyboards laying harmonies, adonrments and brief solos, all of them cleverly weird. The band creates such a powerful that it seems as if their monster might as well turn against it and possess it. So here comes the next track, 'Nord Company vs. Lead Company', which bears less contrast, equal madness and more frenzy. Tha jazzy drive of this zheul example is properly ornamented by Izutani's semi-frippian solos. 'Filial Piety at the Dawn' brings some humor with its touches of surf rock and what seems to be ska, augmenting the 80s KC influenced overall ambience. 'The Sushi Bar', one of the epics, kicks off with a 3- minute piano bar section, slow, almost romantic albeit dissonant, until things turn dramatically into a Zappa's "Apostrophe"-meets- 90s KC. The multi-sounding keyboards (alternately emulating marimba, organ, spacey tricks and distorted clavinet) proves vital in order to bring some freshness among the overall oppressive feel. A reprise of the opening theme closes down this 11 3/4 minutes of bizarre progressive greatness. 'He is Coming at Tokyo Station' is an excercise in deconstructive orchestrations, wicked and funny at the same time - very akin to Dr. Nerve. Retaking shapes and ambiences from tracks 2 and 3, 'The Picture Book - X Rated' turns aout to be the ˝east difficult track in the album, catchy in a rare manner (although still relying heavily on weird stuff). The album's second epic is 'The Three Leaves Insect', occupying a 12+ span. Starting with an almost post-rock crepuscular atmosphere, things get more playful and explicit from minute 3 onwards. What happens from there is a sort of ecapitulation of the most exciting atmospheres that had already been anticipated in the prior tracks. The Zappa factor remains predominant among the sinister RIO-meets-zheul general trend. The albums is closed down by an acoustic reprise of the first track: it is very serene, an unexpected closure delivered on acoustic guitar and accordion. "Toscco" is quite impressive, a gem for stubborn lovers of avant-garde prog (as well as a nightmare for lovers of more conventional melodic art-rock), and of course, a living proof of zheul genre's ongoing vitality. Happy family are real masters of bizarre progresive rock.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Send comments to Cesar Inca (BETA) | Report this review (#127539)
Posted Wednesday, July 04, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Avestin has introduced me to so many albums and I always try to thank him in my reviews(thanks again Assaf). This one though is the best one he has recommended to me so far. This is also my favourite record from Japan right now. There is a darkness and heaviness to this album with drums leading the way. This is an all instrumental record.

We get started with "The Great Man" and I love this song ! The flute and organ create a gloomy atmosphere, and there is some heaviness to this song as well. "Overdrive Locomotive" has a fantastic intro like a heavy metal train travelling with great force down the tracks. We get some chaotic sounds and drums before an enjoyable section 5 minutes in when the tempo speeds up. "Nord Company Vs. Lead Company" is led by the drums as synths are being fired off all over the place. Guitar comes in as the song changes. I really like the breif guitar here and later after 4 minutes. "Filial Piety At The Dawn" has a catchy melody as heavy guitar comes and goes. There is some weird keyboard sounds in this one as the drums continue to dominate.

"The Sushi Bar (With Bad Face, Bad Manners, And Bad Times)" is a relaxed song with piano for the first 3 minutes. The guitar melodies then come in and they sound incredible as the song is no longer relaxed as it changes to an uptempo and catchy beat. What sounds like xylophone and synths come in and the guitar 8 1/2 minutes in is amazing. "He Is Coming At Tokyo Station" is different from the others with piano and drums dominating and some good guitar as well. "The Picture Book-X Rated" is uptempo with an incredible heavy duty soundscape 4 minutes in. The ending is both heavy and hypnotic. "The Three Leaves Insect" reminds me of NOEKK in the beginning. This is very dark and heavy. There is a blistering guitar solo 4 1/2 minutes in as drums pound away. Nice. There is some more dark and heavy music late led by some great bass work. "The Great Man (Revisited)" is an acoustic version of the opening track.

Some of my favourite music is dark and heavy, and with this release you can add creative and complex. This is truly a masterpiece !

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#129344)
Posted Friday, July 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
Bj-1
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Happy Family is definitely one of the best Avant-Prog/Zeuhl bands that I know of the last decade. They're often considered as a Zeuhl band, but I rather think this is more in the Avant-Prog territory and they surely know how the give the listener a ride they'll never forget. The music is hyperactive, complex and manages to sound very original and is never boring. It reminds me of a cross of Koenjihyakkei's second album, minus the frantic vocals, mixed with Mr Bungle's "Disco Volante" only tighter and less varied, but still equally as good! I think their Zeuhl tag is because their comparisons with bands like Koenjihyakkei and Ruins, and I can definitely heard the tendencies and is an excellent alternative if you want to get into the genre but really can't. They sound really fresh and overall more experienced here than on they're more metal oriented debut (which is also excellent, but more chaotic) but the metal tendencies are still here, only more wisely used and adds a very diverse mood the their sound. The overall result is undeniably creative, refreshing and diverse but still very frantic, Zeuhl oriented and avant-gardistic.

The musicianship is brilliant and tight; the musicians here are masters of their instruments and it really shows on some of the tracks. I agree with fellow reviewer The Miracle (Ansen) that they play is such a way that they never display technical wankery even though the music is incredibly fast and complex. Drummer Keiichi Nagase especially is one of the best drummers I've heard recently and his playing here is just amazingly creative and he surely knows how to use his entire kit without repeating himself. Kenichi Morimoto, the keyboardist, composes most of the material and uses the keyboard not only as a lead instrument, but also effectively in the background and handles the quirkiest melodies with great fun and skill. The guitarist, Takahiro Izutani, shows some really creative playing here with heavy and complex riffing that slides inbetween the other instruments. His guitar solos are very noisy at times but he manages to make them fit into the music perfectly while the other musicians' plays their parts. Finally, bassist Tatsuya Myano completes the soundscape with his deep and complex bass lines, and like the other guys in this band stand out as a great musician. His bass fills the parts that other musicians cannot manage to at times effectively as well. Together as a band, all four works wonderfully together and plays with great control and effective styles.

So there you have it, one of the best Japanese Zeuhl/Avant albums created over the last decade. Rapid, complex, fast and well- made music supported with excellent musicianship and clean and fine production. Heavy at times, but also well-composed melodies without a single boring moment or anything like that. Highlights include "Overdrive Locomotive", "Nord-Company vs. Lead Company", "The Sushi Bar" and "The Picture Book - X-Rated", but the whole album really is fantastic as a whole. This quickly became one of my favorite albums with good reason. 5 stars. Highly recommended to Zeuhl and Avant-Prog fans who likes their music complex with a metal twist!

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Send comments to Bj-1 (BETA) | Report this review (#130833)
Posted Monday, July 30, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Toscco is an extravagant display of ferocious complexity, oppressive power, and addictive motifs. It is complete with the brief splashes of beauty, worn in The Great Man, and scattered conservatively throughout the rest. These moments stand in stark contrast to the chief hyperactive and violently busy portion of the album. However, never does their coming seem abrupt or synthetically woven.

In a Zeuhl way, it often depends on rhythm, and in a Japa-Zeuhl way the extreme complexity and hyperactivity. But being entirely instrumental, it is often far from the genre of Zeuhl, and closer to modern avant-garde. In either catagory, it is a proud victory, borrowing influences from Magma, Gentle Giant, King Crimson, and perhaps even chamber-rock acts such as Univers Zero. A beautifully diverse array of textures, electronic and acoustic, increase the perfect of the vision. The blistering guitar/xylophone duet on top of a delicious drum/bass duel is a real highlight.

Often, the extreme complexity is just overwhelming. The compositions are so complicated that they just feel jagged. Picture something like John Cage's Sonatas & Interludes For Prepared Piano, but less dissonant, played by a full band, and that may describe songs like The Three Leaves Insect and He is Coming at Tokyo Station. Not always are the compositions so, though. When they are, they are normally countered with a simpler section to keep the balance.

Don't dismiss this album if you are no Magma fan. This is really a different Zeuhl than the fathers'. It is easiest recommended for fans of intense and intelligent heavy, noisy, maybe darker prog. It is a testament to potential of modern music, with slick sound production, phenomenal compositions, and a slightly metallic touch. Happy Family's Toscco is a masterpiece.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Send comments to Shakespeare (BETA) | Report this review (#169678)
Posted Saturday, May 03, 2008 | Review Permalink
DamoXt7942
FORUM & SITE ADMIN GROUP
Moderator / Psych Team
4 stars Sorry HAPPY FAMILY but I've been impressed in depth and width of this album and made sure that they would be one of Japanese prides. But as honestly I say, in Japan very few people can find such a terrific Japanese progressive rock band...I'm so angry and hungry! :-)

An impression should come first off. The Great Man can move us with gentle flute solo and following heavy and thick sounds. Invited into a trip to Tosccorld by familial HAPPY FAMILY...we are ready. I cannot go to the next door without their refined sounds - not only the flute here but the rhythm section. A bit trailed drum and bass shots - these are some of the characteristics of this song I wanna say. This heavy rhythm section should be taken to the next step continuously, hear please. Suddenly your sound mind should be broken in pieces by speedy and improvised drumming and keyboard noises in Overdrive Locomotive . The title of this song is, I feel, well-expressed. The sounds can tell a steam locomotive with much smoke and steam go into overdrive and be close to an explosion. Effective electronic noises also smell terribly dangerous. They should seem never to do something difficult - on the contrary they can play, naturally and easily, such a complex tune. We should be all amazed. In the last part repetitive, psychedelic and spacey noises can make us full-stomach. Cannot help feeling their activity and aggression. I suggest this track strike our brain definitively. And impressive percussive kicks pulls a tab of a canned soda named Nord Company Vs. Lead Company - exploded gas should surge upon our bilateral ears and make terrible earache! Frozen outer sounds attack and take us to another dimension. Should our goal be the space (Nord) or the deep sea (Lead)? Really absorbing rhythm and air - into the tune itself we should go and be stretched. Can the height be lengthened hahhaha...? Next track Filial Piety At The Dawn has a funny synth sounds with heavy guitars. The musical style, most of Japanese basically are not good with, is their identity and very attractive to Japanese minority, of course including ME. :-) Various noises they can shoot like colourful arrows and all of them should hit us completely. The Sushi Bar is, as HAPPY FAMILY should be, one of Japanese prides but sadly in lots of nations it's not always good. Smelly fish, dry and hard rice, and high-handed atmosphere...a Japanese gentleman is upset and breaking, throwing all sushi in front of him! I always feel this song should say so. (No, wait, I wanna say that not all sushi bar out of Japan are disgusting. There are lots of great sushi bar all over the world.) Sorry back to the album discussion... also here are many, many dynamic sounds and noises. I'm sure such a heavy style (not only Kobaic one) should be their natural taste. Why is He Is Coming At Tokyo Station so unstable? Whether is unstable stuff, he or Tokyo? Indeed Tokyo is a large city and there are lots of monsters, but really is he a terrible monster? I feel as a Godzilla heavily steps on the ground of Tokyo, listening to the track. Following The Picture Book - X Rated has the same atmosphere - heavily striking rhythms and melodies. Even though everyone says the keyboardist or the guitarist should be terrific, I do say the drummer should be the most important! Takahiro Izutani's drumming is not only speedy and powerful but also strict and especially passionate. Furthermore, as I've mentioned above, he can play much naturally such a complex rhythm. Beyond expression! The Three Leaves Insect is absolutely the collection of all of HAPPY FAMILY, their wonderful ensemble. There are floating, streaming, waving, twisting, and attacking "TEMPUS FUGIT". I guess they can tell themselves all with the song. And the air flows slowly to the end... We can be very comfortable with such a polished play, can't we?

Again I say, why can't we find easily such a masterpiece?

P.S. This album was recommended to me by Mike Sharkey aka King By-Tor, in my PA newbie era. Thanks Mike!

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Send comments to DamoXt7942 (BETA) | Report this review (#225031)
Posted Wednesday, July 08, 2009 | Review Permalink
1 stars I was seriously disappointed with this album. It has a raw ugly sound to it and there are no vocals at all. I guess I was expecting something in the vein of the wonderful 'Koenjihyakkei'. Alas, the two bands are poles apart. Even the childish font on the front and back cover annoys me along with the 'baby' doodlings inside. You'd think that the addition of keyboards would smooth things out a little but they sound like a really cheap Yamaha I had in 1986 that played annoying artificial brass and trumpet sounds.

The appearance of a xylophone on 'The Sushi Bar' momentarily lifts my spirits but a few seconds later the frown appears on my forehead again. Grrr! I'm three quarters of way through this album and I can't wait for it to end. I'm just surprised to see that it has such a high score in the 'Archives' so I guess I must be the square peg in the round hole.

A very irritating experience and an album that has no redeeming qualities whatsoever. I'm just surprised so many people like it. Oh - and another thing - it doesn't sound like Zeuhl either - just an un-coordinated din.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Send comments to Dobermensch (BETA) | Report this review (#296396)
Posted Friday, August 27, 2010 | Review Permalink
Sinusoid
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars The opener alone should be an indication as to how wonderful of an album you let yourself into. ''The Great Man'' has to be one of the best ideas laid to tape as the spectacular oboe-like melodies float over your head while the guitars go for the heavy. The rest of TOSCCO doesn't quite live up to the reputation of ''The Great Man'', but Happy Family tries.

Even if the whole of TOSCCO is very avant-garde, mushy and brutal, there always one little melody or line that will stick in your head for some time. The start-stop feel of ''He Is Coming at Tokyo Station'' lets you know the Zeuhl train has arrived and in brutal form. Follow that with ''Picture Book'' and it's funky synths and crashing, trashing metal later on, and you've got a winner. ''Overdrive Locomotive'' is as brutal as it implies, and the metal continues on ''Nord Company'' and ''Filial Piety'' with the latter opening on a memorable wah-guitar line.

Shame that the two longer tracks leave a lot to be desired. ''The Sushi Bar'' may not have bad manners or a bad face, but the taste of nearly twelve minutes isn't exactly pleasing even if the first notable melody is soothing. ''The Three Leaves Insect'' is very epic in nature, but it takes so long to get going that by the time we have gotten somewhere, I've lost interest. Thankfully, a reprise of ''The Great Man'' caps the album on a high note.

This is intense, brutal Zeuhl metal with the occasional foray into RIO, jazz and prog structures. Best yet, TOSCCO isn't a diarrhea mess of complexity even if the sounds make that implication. The description of the ''Toscco'' is quite interesting (see liner notes) even if I can't make heads or tails of it.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Send comments to Sinusoid (BETA) | Report this review (#297650)
Posted Monday, September 06, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars The opening three minutes long opening track The Great Man gives the listener a forewarning of what to come. Then Happy Family fasten the grip and never let's go until the end of this album....... and long after the last tone has rung out.

Coming in somewhere in the Present landscape, me too slightly wonders about this band's inclusion in the Zeuhl genre. But I also understand why they are included. A song like Overdrive Locomotive is leaning very strongly towards Magma. As a conclusion, I would say Happy Family have one foot in Zeuhl and the other one in Avant-Garde/RIO. A great combination in my view.

The tempo varies between frantic and pretty lyrical and gloomy at times. Happy Family also owes a great deal to the likes of John Coltrane too. The music is also epic most of the time. Dare I say symphonic ? Happy Family and this album is surely the subject of lively debates for decades to come.

I do not the quality of the songs are up for debate though. The songs here never becomes uninteresting. There is always something going on. A jazzy snare drum, a rampaging bass, some funky guitars, some gloomy melody lines........ I can go on forever. There is a great deal of variations throughout the album. That makes this album a truly great album and one of the better RIO/Zeuhl albums I have ever heard. Excellent stuff.

4 stars

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Send comments to toroddfuglesteg (BETA) | Report this review (#300063)
Posted Wednesday, September 22, 2010 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars The second album by Happy Family finds the band honing their Zeuhl style, and adding to their repertoire a substantial influence from the mid-1970s King Crimson circa Larks' Tongues In Aspic. This is, of course, not a combination which lacks precedent; back in the 1970s, Heldon produced albums which showed a very strong King Crimson influence and which at points leaned in a zeuhlish direction, and of course Happy Family's fellow Japanese zeuhl practitioners Bondage Fruit combined the two styles very successfully.

Too successfully for Happy Family's good, in fact - whilst this is an intriguing listen, I keep finding myself wanting to relisten to Bondage Fruit's second album when I listen to it, because that tended to be much more original and modern in its approach to melding the two styles. Still, this one's worth a go if you like this particular mashup.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#629579)
Posted Friday, February 10, 2012 | Review Permalink

HAPPY FAMILY Toscco ratings only


chronological order | showing rating only

Post a review of HAPPY FAMILY Toscco


You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | GeoIP Services by MaxMind | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — the ultimate jazz music virtual community | MetalMusicArchives.com — the ultimate metal music virtual community


Server processing time: 0.29 seconds