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Ideamen biography
Formed in 2006, IDEAMEN is a Chicago based project comprised of Tim SWANSON, Mark VASQUEZ, Dave SOLAR, Dan FIGURELL and Phil GOODRICH. All of the band members have previously been actively participating in the local music scene where they finally assembled their lineup based on love for bands like MR. BUNGLE, SYSTEM OF A DOWN and QUEEN, just to name a few.

Taking elements of 70's piano pop infused with modern hard rock and metal, IDEAMEN created their own unique sound which featured dual-lead vocalists, a strong keyboard presence and their renowned trademark of four-part vocal harmonies. After initially finding no backing from a label, the band independently recorded and released their first 5 song EP "Progress" in 2007. The EP quickly spread and got recognition throughout the US and around the world with sales in Canada, the UK, Italy, France, Germany, Switzerland, New Zealand, Australia & Finland.

The release of "Progress", IDEAMEN began to tour and perform gigs wherever they got the chance to do so. Playing opening acts for now cult groups like Baltimore's DOG FASHION DISCO, Chicago's TUB RING, Seattle's ORANGE TULIP CONSPIRACY. IDEAMEN quickly established a fan base in the experimental rock community which began demanding new material and October 27th, 2010 was the day that marked the release of the full length album "May You Live In Interesting Times". Distributed by Rotten Records, the 12 track record was exactly what fans of the band were looking forward during the long three year wait. The bandmembers didn't waste time and began the writing for their followup release between summer 2010 and summer 2011. Official recording of "Schemata" took place between fall 2011 and winter 2012, featuring their newly recruited second guitarist Phil MILLER. 2013 saw the departure of the band's guitarist Dan FIGURELL due to moving too far away in order to be able to attend band rehearsals. Dan did help record and engineer "Schemata". Greg MILLIKEN was swiftly recruited for the band's live gigs. The band's sophomore full length album was released in February 2014 featuring another strong set of 12 tracks aimed towards the existing fan base and new fans alike.

Recommended for fans of eclectic music with a prominent touch of metal arrangements mixed into the sound.

Biography by Rune2000

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IDEAMEN discography

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IDEAMEN top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.04 | 5 ratings
May You Live In Interesting Times
4.09 | 4 ratings
4.00 | 1 ratings
Trained When We're Young

IDEAMEN Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

IDEAMEN Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

IDEAMEN Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

IDEAMEN Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 3 ratings


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Schemata by IDEAMEN album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.09 | 4 ratings

Ideamen Progressive Metal

Review by Rune2000
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

4 stars After a long four year wait Ideamen have returned with their sophomore full length release and it was well worth waiting for!

Not much has changed in regard to the band's sound, even though the quintet has been expanded to a sextet with the addition of Phil Miller on second guitar. Ideamen still feature the same skilled roster of musicians that delivered the eclectic 2007 statement of an EP Progress and the great debut full length album May You Live In Interesting Times. As you can probably tell, I'm somewhat of an Ideamen fan. Having discovered the band some time around mid 2011 and being completely blown away by their lighthearted, while truly inspirational and genuine, approach to eclectic music making. This is a team of talented musicians and songwriters who know how to make catchy and highly addicting songs while still being true to their band's name. I've been hooked on them and have been following their progress though their official website and Facebook for any new related to a new release since. Not much happened during 2012 and it wasn't until fall 2013 that Tim Swanson & company finally started talking about a new release. I made sure to pre-order my copy as soon as I could and received it in the mail around mid February.

The album has been on my regular playlist since then, even though it did have a hard time competing for my attention since I was still very much into Polkadot Cadaver's latest album and have recently discovered Celebrity Sex Scandal, plus a few other new releases from acts like Dream Theater, Moon Safari, Dead Lord, Leprous and a few others. It wasn't until a few weeks ago that I really started getting into Schemata but once I did, there was literally no way going back!

The album kicks off with an intro that quickly transforms into the album's first true highlight. Red In The Sky is a song in true Ideamen-fashion, featuring strong instrumental and vocal hooks delivered with great passion and skill. I especially like the buildup section that begins around the 2-minute mark and continues for almost a minute before the chorus reprise kicks in and finishes the track. I was initially a bit skeptical in regard to the album's first single, Running Home, after seeing the ridiculously cheesy tongue and cheek music video produced by the band. Even though I still have some reservations in regard to the composition's chorus line it does manage to create a catchy and strong song that might actually give the band the commercial boost that they have so far been lacking.

Two Complaints is my personal favorite track and a glorious highlight from Schemata, featuring beautiful melodic hooks, well written arrangements and instrumental track arrangements. The first tones of Brainchild made me remember the albums melody from the intro track Schemata Prologue, hence this is the centerpiece of the album and it definitely deserves this title since Brainchild is a magnificent track where the band manages to fuse a bunch of their influences and create a truly original piece of music that can only be placed under the Ideamen label! If I really have to find a weak spot then it would be the blatantly obvious Queen tribute towards the end, especially the Brian May inspired guitar solo.

The album ends on the same strong note as it began with Dead Utopia, making me remember the exact reason of why I hold Ideamen close to my heart and mind. This is an exceptional piece of music that I highly recommend to all fans of vocal harmonies and passionate eclectic rock music. After all these passionate remarks in regard to the album's quality I still hesitate to give it the highest possible rating, even though Schemata does come close to just that. The album features quite a few influences from other artists which sometimes make the experience seem slightly disjointed; first we get a song clearly sounding like something inspired by System of a Down, then we get some Queen, some Mike Patton-sounding vocals and so on and so on. This does sound like a nice novelty at first but becomes somewhat of a problem upon repeated listens as some songs swiftly get under this or that artist's influence, thus distracting me from actually experiencing Ideamen. Having said that, I still find Schemata to be a highly fulfilling record and I'm sure that many of these compositions will be on my playlist for years to come!

***** star songs: Red In The Sky (4:38) Two Complaints (3:48) Brainchild (4:21) Dead Utopia (4:16)

**** star songs: Schemata Prologue (1:05) Momenta (4:01) Running Home (4:01) Bad Apple (2:51) Off Is A Crime (4:59) Downtown Crier (3:49) This Dog Just Rolled Over And Died (4:05) Through The Sunrise (4:00)

 May You Live In Interesting Times by IDEAMEN album cover Studio Album, 2010
4.04 | 5 ratings

May You Live In Interesting Times
Ideamen Progressive Metal

Review by Rune2000
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

4 stars After being completely mesmerized by what I heard on the band's debut EP, I jumped straight into their first full length release without a single hesitation! This proved to be not as easy as I originally had intended it to be since Ideamen have brushed and polished their sound after their Progress and the band I heard on May You Live In Interesting Times took some time to get used to.

My initial spin felt very underwhelming since most of these tracks went by unnoticed and it took 4-5 spins before the material began to settle in. It didn't help that I read the negative AllMusic review of this release that passed it off as a mere clone of System Of A Down and Mike Patton (if this combination can actually be considered a clone). Fortunately, once I warmed up to the material there were many rewards to be experienced!

Unlike most albums, this one has most of it's treasures hidden in the middle of the album. The two opening tracks, Interesting Times and Emergency, do a fine job of getting me into the right mood but it's really not until the System Of A Down-inspired The Rest that we get our first truly magical composition! Sunshine is the most single-oriented track and reminds me a lot of those classic feel-good Indie rock songs that we've got so accustomed to over the years. Unlike most of those songs, this one still manages to outshine them in the instrumental and vocal departments, which is a huge plus in my book!

Horse's Head is probably this album's most brutal composition and it's a pure joy to both the mind and ears. After a minor intermission in the shape of Incident, we finally get to the three-track streak that I consider to be the pinnacle of the entire release. Collectibles sounds almost like a Metalesque Waltz and always manages to leave an idiotic grin on my face. Uneventful Day is a two minute tune that might be passed off as a joke tune but it's these moments that truly define Ideamen for me with their clear ability to produce quirky and intelligent music. This is finally where we get to the album's masterpiece, a little track called No Thought. This is not a composition that I need to describe, since it's an experience that has to be heard in order to be understood!

It's really hard to follow up this type of powerhouse music-making, which is why the band clearly begins to show signs of fatigue with the final three compositions. Paper Goose might be another quirky tune, but it sounds a bit too much like a been there done that type of affair for a band of such magnitude. Quares is a bit more interesting, but the 5+ minute track format hasn't exactly been working out for Ideamen up until now and this one manages to overstay it's welcome. That same argument can be attributed to the final track Your Signature Here; great stuff, but not as polished as the rest of the material.

I guess that my main complaint with May You Live In Interesting Times is that it's all over the place in the composition department, which could just as well be considered a compliment! If you enjoy eclectic music with a Metal edge and melodic vocals then definitely give this solid record a go!

***** star songs: The Rest (3:49) Sunshine (3:00) Horse's Head (3:47) Collectibles (3:18) Uneventful Day (2:00) No Thought (4:22)

**** star songs: Interesting Times (3:17) Emergency (4:18) Incident (4:40) Paper Goose (2:40) Quares (5:14) Your Signature Here (4:46)

 Progress by IDEAMEN album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2007
4.00 | 3 ratings

Ideamen Progressive Metal

Review by Rune2000
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

4 stars I've been pretty much eating/breathing/thinking about Ideamen for the last couple of weeks and I own it all to this EP!

My interest in hearing Ideamen came as a natural byproduct of being a huge fan of Dog Fashion Disco, seeing that Tim Swanson was involved in both of these projects. Still, I wouldn't exactly call Ideamen to be a spin-off of Swanson's endeavors since they aren't as off the wall crazy as any of the Todd Smith-fronted projects. I clearly remember giving this EP a spin on Spotify in early April/May 2011, but it took me quite some time to warm up to Ideamen and their style. It's not that the music was pretty catchy to begin with, but rather that I simply wasn't in the right frame of mind for this material until now.

Listening to the album opening track Vivid sparked a completely different and amazing reaction in my mind when I listened to it a few weeks back. I'm sure that you'll understand exactly what I mean once you give this track a spin. This composition suddenly felt like a masterpiece of grand proportions and made me want to explore the rest of these five compositions! Know The Dance had a completely bipolar reaction on me since I'm generally not that fond of the whole Latin beat approach (I have the same reaction to reggae music). Fortunately, it didn't take long to warm up to this track and especially it's mid-section where the composition changes gears only to return to the main theme towards the end.

Cavity is probably the heaviest and most satisfying track on Progress. It's as close as Ideamen will ever get to sounding like a pure Progressive Metal act. Straight Shooter is another highly off-beat moment that might take some time to warm up to unless you like the whole country inspired approach. I see this track as a parody of the genre, which is why it wasn't really much of a problem for me to enjoy it. Add One is my least favorite moment of the bunch. It's not a bad track by any means, but there's clearly something missing in this performance and I can't really point my finger at what it is. If anything, it does indeed feel like a perfect last track when compared to the much more energetic rest of the material on Progress.

This first taste of Ideamen really got me interested in hearing their followup full length studio release May You Live In Interesting Times"and it wasn't long until that wish became a reality...

***** star songs: Vivid (3:23) Cavity (5:19)

**** star songs: Know The Dance (3:45) Straight Shooter (2:48) Add One (5:09)

Thanks to Rune2000 for the artist addition.

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