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Guapo - Elixirs CD (album) cover





3.77 | 69 ratings

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3 stars 'Elexirs' is a more eclectic album then the 2 preceding ones. This offers the advantage of diversity, but the disadvantage of including experiments that might not please all fans. With their basic Zeuhl/dark jazz sound extended with post-rock, folk, avant-garde vocals and RIO, this album might not thrill everyone equally.

Things start just brilliantly with 'Jeweled Turtle', a seemingly quiet violin piece, but one with a threatening tension underneath the surface. It's the first time I hear Universe Zero's influence so prominently. Also 'Arthur, Elsie and Frances' has some of that dark UZ atmosphere. The quicker paced sections with drum and distorted bass guitar are typical instrumental modern Zeuhl. The last part of the track has some much appreciated post-rock influences

So far so good, but then follow the two 'Twisted Sterns' songs, which I guess divide the fanbase somewhat. I find the 'The Heliotrope' very disappointing and dreary, 'The Selenotrope' on the other hand works better for me, with its frighteningly tense atmosphere and guest vocals from Jarboe (being a huge fan of Swans may cloud my judgment here). 'The Planks' is an upbeat mid-eastern folky tune that lightens up the mood. On 'King Lindorm' they mix their Zeuhl sound again with post-rock and again it's very effective. I especially love how it ends, building up a crescendo in true canon fashion, circling loops around itself and leaving the listener dizzy and ultimately floored.

'Elexirs' is a challenging listen; one for avant fans with a degree, but there's still a strong rock vibe to the material, which is - for me at least - very helpful to get into this thick, dark but ultimately beautiful dissonance.

Bonnek | 3/5 |


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