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The Muffins - Bandwidth CD (album) cover

BANDWIDTH

The Muffins

 

Canterbury Scene

3.86 | 18 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars After a 20 years hiatus, the famous Washington DC group The Muffins regrouped and recorded a new album on the great Cuneiform label (where their previous albums have been reissued since along with two archives/sessions compilation), the historical quartet recording this over a two years period between 99 and 01. The amazing thing with The Muffins is that they've released only one album while they were together (the debut Mana/mirage) but have released some four or five albums posthumously from the period where they were indeed a group. So when Bandwidth (and later Double Negative) was released, this was actually their second real time release (or non-posthumous release), to my knowledge anyway.

Have The Muffins retained their original impetus after an almost 20 years absence. Well not really, but it doesn't make the recordings from their second career anyless interesting, even if they have less energy. Yes, they have veered a little Soft, while avoid sounding too much like a Machine, but not really being able to avoid it. Soooooo, I guess you understood that there were still some Kentish attitudes that still pervades and seep through their calm fusion. Indeed tracks like Military Road, Dear Mona and People In The Snow sound like modernized National Health, Keith Tippett Group or even Nucleus, and I'll be damned if this is not to thrill me, especially with the more complex World Maps. Actually half the fun of this album and its follow-up is being able to see who influenced their writing on which tracks. You might get the impression that The Muffins' latest albums might be derivative, and I guess that to a certain extent, this is exactly the case, but they manage to be progressive enough to grace us with some more progressive moments (the middle section of Out Of The Boot). Another small beauty is East Of Diamond with its small string section, and its successor Sam's Room leaves it nothing to be desired.

An honest comeback album that will not displease demanding progheads, but is not likely to enthusiasm them like their early stuff. Solid enough to warrant a satisfaction guaranteed, but certainly not enough for a trip to the stratosphere.

Sean Trane | 4/5 |

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