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miRthkon - Vehicle CD (album) cover





4.03 | 102 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Post/Math Rock Team
4 stars The first full-length album from this outfit from Oakland, California. An impressive debut too. The music MiRthkon plays is a combination of Zappaesque jazz-rock and classical-rock mixed with modern chamber rock and avant-metal. If you can imagine a clashing of Zappa, Mr. Bungle and Univers Zero then you get an idea of what this album sounds like. These guys are on the more humourous end of avant-prog while still having lots of chops and complexity. This might appeal to fans of bands such as Miriodor and Yugen. The instrumentation includes the usual guitars, drums, keyboards along with a host of wind instruments including sax and piccolo.

The album begins with a parody of a car commercial called "Congratulations." This is excellently done and convincing until the music gets more Zappaesque and dramatic while the narrator starts talking like it's the end of the world. "Flashbulb Of Orgasm" is great jazzy avant-metal (or is that metallic avant-jazz?). "Banana" has vocals and is a bouncy little ditty for the most part. Not a highlight but it stands out. "Kharms Way" goes into a terrific groove about halfway after a few minutes of Zappaesque avant-rock. Some beautiful subdued piano playing at the end as someone does their best Tom Brokaw impression along with some symphonic synths. "Daddylonglegz" has interesting counterpoint between the wind instruments. Some Zappa-meets-Zeuhl vocals at one point. The bass really stands out in this track.

"Coven Of Coyotes" at least initially sounds like early (1980's) Red Hot Chili Peppers, which is interesting as that band had a song called "True Men Don't Kill Coyotes" on their first album. Then it gets a lot jazzier with some call-and-response vocals. Like "Banana" this is not a highlight but it stands out. Sped-up Zappa style avant-rock to end it. "Johnny Yen" is more manic and unpredictable in a Naked City fashion. Mellows out more in the middle. A melody gets repeated over and over with some almost random drumming. "Bappsciliophuaega" (say that five times fast!) starts out as avant-funk-rock then evolves into avant-jazz-metal. At the end you hear a sample from a 1980s Eddie Murphy movie where he talks about putting a banana in a tailpipe. I can't remember what movie that is, I think it's either Beverly Hills Cop or 48 Hours.

"Trishna" is one of the more interesting and varied songs. Lots going on here and not just avant-jazz-metal (although there is lots of that too). One part has some crazy stereo panning. "Honey Key Jamboree" is in the vein of "Banana" and "Coven." Upbeat vocal song that sounds very different from the instrumentals. Featuring some Zappa style harmony backup vocals and occasional disco beats. Also featuring a *very* Zappa sounding guitar solo. "The Black Fruit" is dark and moody chamber prog similar to Univers Zero/Present. You hear a fire alarm go off at one point which adds to the music. After the alarm the track goes into dissonant avant-rock/noise-rock territory. Probably the most difficult and challenging part of the album.

Near the end you hear the lovely New Age music of the opening mock car ad again. The narrator here makes some deadpan sarcastic comments. The last and longest song "Camelopardalis" changes frequently and holds your attention throughout. You hear everything from a funeral march to funky bass playing here. Overall this is a great debut effort from this group. I like the sound of the bass and the bass playing in general but think the distorted metal guitar sound is a little over used; would have been better with a wider variety of tones. Just a minor problem though as this is some good stuff. 4 stars.

zravkapt | 4/5 |


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