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Mandrill - Composite Truth CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.00 | 12 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars Third album from this septet and surprisingly enough, they (albums) remain at a high standard and of much interest for progheads. Apparently from the sleeve artwork, Mandrill felt a need to grow from ape status to an ill-advised multi-racial and multi-cultural facet, but the costumes are either carnival-esque and induce into Village People masquerade or the pretentious dead-seriousness of these costumes. Maybe they went for a Composite Truth and you should be aiming in the middle of the two extremes. In either case, the album is still a very strong one with plenty of instrumental interplay space and it would manage very healthy sales. Line-up-wise, the bassist spot has been handed over to Fudgie Kaye who would be around for the next three albums.

There are the usual strong funk tracks including the two hit singles from this album, the excellent Hang Loose with its superb organ and powerful brass section, the fantastic Fencewalk with plenty of wailing guitars and beefy-bleedy brass, the outstanding Don't Mess With People and its incredible syncopation (this must be the essence of prog funk), the longer Santana-esque Golden Stone and its constantly changing climates with its orgiastic organ, the ultra-smooth closing Morroccan Nights with its amazingly well orchestrated suite of instruments following one another.

However there are the more Caribbean-Latino track the nearly instrumental Hagalo (strong trumpet and vibes) or Polk Street Carnival (almost a pastiche, but I'm not sure this was intentional and overstays its welcome badly) and the crooner-like Out With The Boys (the quietest track of the album if you can believe it), all three tracks are bringing the average down a bit.

Just as good as its predecessor and not having that ill-advised theatrical Universal Rhythm, Composite Truth is one of those AfroAmerican gems that most white people don't suspect they ever existed, along with Cymande and Osibisa.

Sean Trane | 4/5 |


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