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Monobody - Comma CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.11 | 32 ratings

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4 stars Monobody is a band that exists in a blurry borderland between jazz fusion and math rock, and this album comfortably sits right in the middle between the two genres, combining fast, complicated melodic lines on clean guitars with freedom to improvise in between the strictly composed sections as well as a bouncy, jazzy rhythm section (the band has two bassists and I'm not sure who did what exactly but the bass playing on this album is particularly excellent). Collin Clauson accompanies the band aptly with his piano and synthesizer, with his most prominent moment being on "Atala" where he plays some cool doublings and call-and-response bits with the guitar, but it's guitarist Conor Mackey (whose guitar tone walks a line between the cleanness and [mostly] lack of reverb that's typical of math rock, and the lack of treble that's typical of traditional jazz guitar playing) who's really the main star on the album and whose instrument is right at the forefront in the mix all the time.

"Sylphina" is the most convincing synthesis of the two genres, starting with some clean guitar chords, followed by a very pretty main theme played by a double-tracked Mackey playing harmonics in one layer and arpeggios in another, interspersed with some open spaces for the guitar, bass and keyboards to solo. It is the highlight of the album, along with "Cloudless Sulphur", which starts off quiet and down-to-earth before changing pace halfway through and gradually becoming faster and more intense, growing from a synthy shuffle into a manic heavy rocker, with drummer Nnamdi Ogbonnaya really doing an impressive number on his cymbals. The opening and closing tracks are in themselves an excellent sampler of what the album is like, with unusual chord progressions and weird guitar parts played in broken, constantly changing rhythms, interchanged by beautiful, catchy main themes. "Mimic" is the most jazzy song on the album and is mostly dedicated to a virtuosic guitar jam that's vaguely reminiscent of bands such as Cab or Tribal Tech, while "Harvester" is a slower, more contemplative piece to soften the listener up in preparation of the grand finale.

The album's short length is a pity, but this is nonetheless a highly recommended gem of instrumental music that's sure to keep you on your toes.

Mirakaze | 4/5 |


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